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SMC Athlete of the Year: Megan Mattia

Chris Khorey | Friday, May 19, 2006

For her entire career, Megan Mattia has been near the top of the leader board.

The Saint Mary’s senior finished a spectacular career Saturday by competing as an individual at the NCAA Division III championships in Howey-in-the-Hill, Florida.

Mattia shot a 328 over three rounds, finishing tied for 18th.

Belles head coach Mark Hamilton said Mattia, who has only carded one career round that was not in the team’s top five for the day, is one of the best players he’s ever worked with.

“She’s been solid from day one on campus,” Hamilton said. “Without a doubt she’s been the most consistent player that I’ve ever had or that Saint Mary’s has ever had.”

Mattia’s appearance at the NCAAs was her third in four years, but her first as an individual. The senior worked out on the course by herself for most of the week leading up to the tournament.

“We played as a team right up until a week before nationals,” Hamilton said. “That last week I worked with her a little, but she was mostly on her own.”

With the performance, Mattia earned an honorable mention to the All-America team.

She was also named to the All-Region first team this season.

Mattia was the low scorer for the Belles in every tournament they played this season, winning three tournaments, finishing second in another. Mattia was also named the MVP as Saint Mary’s won the MIAA championship Oct. 8 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

On March 19, the third day of the Shamrock Invitational in Tega City, S.C., Mattia shot 74, tied for the lowest score ever by a Saint Mary’s golfer.

Hamilton said he thought the round was unparalleled in school history.

“I feel that that’s best round ever shot at Saint Mary’s,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough golf course and we were the only Division III team there.”

Mattia made an immediate impact upon her arrival in 2002. She carded a two-round score of 183 in her first collegiate tournament in Big Rapids, Mich. That score was good enough for fourth on the team.

She had the low score for the Belles for the first time in her career four tournaments later, at the Hope College Jamboree in Holland, Mich.

Mattia carded a then-career low 160 over two rounds to lead Saint Mary’s to a victory in the three-team tournament. She ended the year with an 82.60 scoring average, lowest on the team and better than teammate and eventual national champion Stefanie Simmerman.

In her sophomore year, Mattia posted an 84.60 scoring average in the fall semester. The Belles returned to the NCAA championships that spring, although this time without Mattia, who was studying abroad in Italy for the semester.

Returning to the United States for her junior year, Mattia posted an 84.56 scoring average and shot 340 over four rounds to tie for 26th place as the Belles took sixth at the NCAAs.

Mattia finishes her career with a personal best of 154 for two rounds. She set that mark in the spring of 2005 at the Illinois-Weseleyan tournament.

Mattia will graduate from Saint Mary’s with a degree in history and psychology.