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MOUNT WASHINGTON - It was a sea of orange recently in the Bullitt East lobby as senior Katie Nusz signed to continue her golf career at Union College.
Nusz was wearing an orange Union College T-shirt and most of her family and relatives were decked out in burnt orange to celebrate the big event. Union College coaches Eric Wyrick and his assistant, Anthony Carruba, were also dressed out in the bright colors.
Nusz was the first local female golfer to ever qualify for three trips to the Girls’ Kentucky State Golf Championships. During her recently completed senior season, she helped the Bullitt East team qualify for the state meet for the first time ever.
Wyrick had been aware of Nusz since July, but Nusz had been aware of Union for over a year. She had first made contact with the school through its website last spring and had scheduled a visit in June.
While Nusz also considered signing with Transylvania or Brescia, the final decision of Union was not a difficult one.
“When I considered everything, it was Union,” Nusz said after making it all official in front of family and friends. “They have a great campus. It’s small and everybody knows everybody. I can get a good education.”
Nusz played on the Bullitt East golf team for five seasons. She didn’t really grow up playing golf. Former Bullitt East boys’ coach Gil Hardin worked to form a middle school program and Nusz showed up to sign-up never having hit a ball before.
The Middle School league played at a Different Strokes facility in Jefferson County. There she met up with swing coach Vance Smith, who she still works with.
She took to the sport quickly and joined the Bullitt East team as an eighth-grader. She qualified for her first state meet a year later. After missing the event as a sophomore, she qualified again as a junior and senior. This past season, she made the cut for the first time and finished in a tie for 33rd.
“I’ve always been told by everybody that there are opportunities in college for female golfers,” Nusz said. “It was my junior year it hit me that I could go and play (in college).”
Wyrick coaches both the men’s and the women’s programs at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.
“We knew about her just from watching the regional and state results,” Wyrick said after getting Nusz’ signature. “We have monitored Katie since July.”
The Union teams are part of the NAIA and play in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The home course for the squads is Wasioto Winds State Park in Pineville.
Nusz is the first player from this area to sign with Wyrick who signs two or three players each year. In college golf, much like high school, five players make up a team for each event. Union golfers compete both in the spring and fall, but it is the spring season that includes the conference tournament where players can qualify for bigger post-season tourneys.
Nusz is the 18-year old daughter of Tony and Netta Nusz. She has two siblings, an older sister, Ashley, as well as a younger brother, Alex, who plays on the Bullitt East boys’ golf team.
At Union, Nusz would like to major in physics and then move into the teaching profession.
Nusz has a personal best score of 38 for 9-holes when she was playing at Doe Valley Country Club. Her best score for 18-holes is an 84 at Heritage Hill Golf Course which is Bullitt East’s home course. She also works at Heritage Hill.
At this point, Nusz is not playing a lot of golf, but when the weather improves she will return to Heritage Hill and get ready for the college part of her golf career.
Does she have a favorite memory of playing for Bullitt East?
“It has to be the last year when we took a team to state,” Nusz concluded. “Hopefully that will get other girls to play.”