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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A World Away

Bankok native Kanyapak Sethasompobe was the 2013-14
NSIC Women's Golfer of the Year
The flight from Bankok to Minneapolis is 8,298 miles.  Drive another another hour and half south from the airport to Mankato and you’re a world away from home.

A member of the Minnesota State women’s golf team, junior Kanyapak Sethasompobe, who hails from the most populous city in Thailand, seems to be doing just fine in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, thank you. Given the success she’s had in her first three years in the Key City, the long commute from her hometown has not stopped her from having an extremely successful career with the Mavericks. 

Named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Women’s Golfer of the Year following her sophomore year in 2013-14, Sethasompobe has been one of Minnesota State’s top individuals since making her way to Mankato prior to the start of the 2012-13 campaign.  After averaging 82.3 as a freshman, she lowered that to 78.3 as a sophomore while recording four first-place tournament finishes and earning NSIC Women’s Golfer of the Week honors three times during the course of the season. She’s averaging 79.3 for her junior season.

In terms of international recruiting, every story has its own unique facet.  For Sethasompobe, rather than letting the recruiters come to her, she thought she would take the initiative and send out an email with her profile attached for recruiters to see. 

One of the email recipients was Minnesota State women’s golf coach Nick Campa. “When looking at the information we were seeing, we thought we didn’t have a chance to land her because she was so highly rated,” said Campa, who is in his 25th year leading the Mavericks.  “But the email she sent to us gave us positive thoughts on possibly getting her to come to Minnesota State.” 

While Sethasompobe occasionally traveled to the United States for tournaments before coming to Minnesota State, moving to Mankato was still a tough transition.  “It’s very cold here in Minnesota.  Before I had come to Mankato, I had never seen snow before.”  While the cold weather and becoming more fluent in English were two of the most difficult things to adjust to, Sethasompobe has really enjoyed her time with the Mavericks.  “We have a lot of fun as a team.  My teammates have been so supportive of me and have always been there when I’ve needed help with school or just someone to talk to.”

Campa was convinced Sethasompobe would be able to have an impact right away and has been impressed as his international player has grown as a person.  “She’s meant a lot to the program.  Right off the bat she was one of the top players on the team as a freshman.  She is a great teammate and a great leader. She is one of the girls who you like to point out to kids to show them how to be a great example.” 

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Sethasompobe and Campa have similar goals in mind.  “We’re off to a great start to the spring and hopefully we can keep that momentum going into nationals this year,” Sethasompobe said. 

“These last few tournaments have been great confidence boosters for our team,” said Campa.  “We’re looking to keep our confidence up going into the end of the year and into the postseason.”

The Mavericks have made seven straight NCAA tournament appearances and in addition to hoping to make it eight straight, will be looking to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish at the regional championship.

A communications major, Sethasompobe is hoping to make a possible run at joining the LPGA following her collegiate career.  

    Contributed by Cameron Klade, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern

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