Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Bethany Glassford was not sure what role she would play on UNLV's golf team as a freshman.
While the Coronado graduate hoped to get a spot in the starting lineup, Glassford knew she would have stiff competition from a team on the rise.
After an impressive fall season and fighting her way through minor injuries, Glassford has earned her spot and hopes to help UNLV to become a force to be reckoned with.
Glassford brings championship experience to the Rebels after a high school career that included being named Coronado's Most Valuable Player three consecutive years. She also finished second in state as a junior and senior.
"Bethany is going to be a solid No. 5 for us and we're excited to see what she can do," UNLV coach Missy Ringler said. "We feel like we're in a position where this could be the best team we've had and having local kids as a part of that — contributing — is a bonus."
In three rounds this fall, Glassford averaged 77.3 strokes, which was fourth best on the team.
"She's so little, but she has great length off the tee," Ringler said. "She's become very consistent, but she needs to work on her confidence on short putts. It's something she's been working on. She just needs to allow herself to settle down and realize she can make those shots."
Glassford agreed that putting has been her weakness and has dedicated herself to improving.
"I never wanted to assume anything, but I wanted to be on the starting five right away, so I know I have to work very hard to stay here," Glassford said. "Now that I have my chance, I want to do my best to help my team win. I want to place at tournaments, not just show up and play."
UNLV junior Melissa Mabanta said Glassford has shown maturity for a freshman and expects her to continue helping the Rebels make a push for a Mountain West Conference championship.
"Bethany has come a long way; I could probably learn a few things from her," Mabanta said. "She's always working and always focused. She takes golf serious, but she always maintains her positivity. It's good to have her on the team."
Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.