By Ken MacLeod
National collegiate golf powers Oklahoma and Oklahoma State command the headlines in the state, with a host of other successful programs lined up in their wake at the Division I, Division II and NAIA levels.
Often overlooked is the program that has actually been the most successful of all in this pandemic buffeted fall, and that is the women’s team at Redlands Community College, which on Oct. 22 burst into the top spot in the national NJCAA Women’s Golf Rankings.
Coached by Taylor Sliauter, a former star at the University of Central Oklahoma as Taylor Neidy before marrying current Lake Hefner head professional Brad Sliauter, the Redlands team has won three of four events this fall against many larger schools and would appear to be a darkhorse to capture the NJCAA Championship next spring at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club.
Taylor played the mini-tours for two years after graduating from UCO in 2014, where she was an All-American as a senior. She got into coaching first as an assistant at Oklahoma Baptist and took over the Redlands program in 2017.
“Golf has always been a big part of my life,” Taylor said. “I tried the mini-tours, but that’s a long road. When this job came up, I decided I wanted to try to make an impact on these young women’s lives.”
At Redlands, located in El Reno and whose home course is Crimson Creek, she has recruited a balanced team of players from around the state who have aspirations of moving on to a higher level and also international players looking for a fresh start in the U.S.
This fall Redlands has won the Dornick Hills Classic, the Central Kansas Classic, the SCU Fall Invite and placed second by two shots to Texas Wesleyan in the recent Sydney Cox Invitational at Lincoln Park in Oklahoma City. Redlands finished 13 shots ahead of NAIA power Oklahoma City University in that event, to give you an idea of the level at which this junior college squad is playing .
Freshman Ashlyn Acosta from Yukon took third in that event at 1-over after rounds of 72-71. She won the Kansas Classic and tied for second at Dornick Hills. However, she finished tied for ninth at the SCU Invite at Lake Hefner, behind four of her teammates, including freshman Katie Graham of Scotland (first), sophomore Marvelyn Kartika of Indonesia (tied for second), freshman Maisie Liddell of Ardmore (tied for second) and freshman Hallie Schultz of Ardmore (sixth). All five starters are ranked in the top 12 of the NJCAA for the fall season.
Schultz, Liddell and Acosta are actually second-year freshmen due to the extra year of eligibility granted all golfers due to the COVID-19 situation.
“I’ve got some kids that were under recruited and some that blossomed late,” Taylor said. “If they are late bloomers, they can come here and play for two years and then hopefully go on and get that D-I scholarship.
“We’ve had two different girls win individual titles and they are all playing really well. I don’t feel like I have a best player. I have five good golfers and depending on what day it is, any one of them can win.”
Taylor led Redlands to a top-10 finish in the juco national championship her first year, then had three individuals compete her second year when the team did not quality. Last spring’s event was canceled. She thinks a top-five finish is a realistic goal for this team and even better is a possibility.
“We’ve got a good team and they are working their tails off,” she said. “They love the game. You don’t have to make them practice, they want to be there. It’s really fun to watch their hard work pay off.”
Following are links to results from Redlands CC’s four fall events.