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Freshman embraces leadership

The Rutgers women’s golf team makes its spring 2012 debut in a little more than a week. The Scarlet Knights tee off March 16 at the Siena College Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in a long-awaited match.

No one is more anxious to return to the course than freshman Kortnie Maxoutopoulis, who led the Knights in their fall campaign.

Maxoutopoulis is always ready to do whatever is necessary to take her game to the next level and remain at an elite status.

“I love to work on my game,” she said. “I am always trying to see what I can improve on to develop my game and make me better. I think that attitude is what helps me on the course.”

The Pleasanton, Calif., native has lived by the motto, and it is evident through her accomplishments and golf career.

Maxoutopoulis competed at a national level during her high school career, including playing as part of the Northern California Golf Association.

She also ranked 115th nationally on the junior scoreboard for the Class of 2011 with a scoring differential of 2.77.

Her drive and success followed her to Rutgers, resulting in an impressive fall season. She won the Bison Invitational on Sep. 12 in Lewisburg, Pa.

She carded a 214 (70-73-71) to secure the win in her first collegiate event. The victory was even sweeter as she played in rain, wind and other disruptive weather conditions for the entire weekend.

“The weather was something that I was not used to,” Maxoutopoulis said. “In California, it was usually nice all of the time, so that was something that I had to adjust to.”

She made an important adjustment and carried the confidence she gained in the win throughout the remainder of the season. Maxoutopoulis finished with another win at the Rutgers Invitational in October, carding a 150 (75-75) and multiple top finishes in the team’s season.

Maxoutopoulis was a catalyst for the Knights. In addition to gaining respect from her teammates, she took on a leadership role and was also a factor in why head women’s golf coach Maura Waters-Ballard raves about her team’s success and bright future.

“Of all the seasons that I have coached, I believe that this past fall has been the best,” Waters-Ballard said. “Everyone played very well, even when the chips were down. We always played with 100-percent effort.”

Not everyone is able to be an effective leader, especially as a first-year athlete. It is difficult for a player to have expectations to lead while trying to develop her own game.

But Maxoutopoulis believes her skills and leadership qualities as a golfer are effective.

“One of my strengths is my ability to help lead my teammates more mentally as opposed to physically,” she said.

As long as Maxoutopoulis continues to compete at her current standard, the Knights are in a position to succeed during the spring season.

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