At 5-foot-2 and 112 pounds, Independence junior Sophia Trombetta isn’t the biggest athlete competing on Archwood Road this fall, but she’s probably the best.
Trombetta, a third-year golfer, announced on Wednesday her plan to continue her education and golf career at the University of Michigan.
“It's kind of unbelievable to think that I've committed to this amazing school but I have to wait two years to get there,” Trombetta said. “It's kind of crazy but it's kind of nice to know what I'm doing and to have that future kind of set and not have to worry about things too much. It's pretty cool but it's kind of unbelievable that I'm still a junior and have two years to wait but it will be fun when the time comes.”
Michigan coach Jan Dowling began following Trombetta on the summer golf circuit. Dowling, who is in her fourth season as the Wolverines’ coach, became a frequent member of Trombetta’s gallery and last Wednesday extended the scholarship offer. Michigan State also offered that day and Louisville did the same on Thursday.
“Once I got offered by Michigan I was blown away and I didn't want to wait,” Trombetta said. “I saw her at a tournament down in Florida over the summer, that's when I first saw her. She watched me for a couple holes but I didn't know if she was really too interested but then she started to show up at lots of tournaments. She has been to six or seven of my tournaments so I knew she was pretty interested and my mom had been calling and emailing with her.”
Trombetta first visited Ann Arbor when her sister Mallory was touring potential colleges. She returned last Wednesday for a closer look at the campus and golf program.
“On our first visit we looked around the school and saw the facilities and the golf courses then on this one on Wednesday we were able to go visit academic advisers and tutors and stuff like that,” Trombetta said. “That was pretty cool and seeing all those programs made me feel really comfortable that this is such an amazing school. Ann Arbor is such a pretty town too. The visits were really amazing. It’s just an incredible experience, the whole thing.”
Talking with Dowling and meeting assistant coach Mandi Morrow sealed Trombetta’s fate.
“She's awesome; she's perfect,” Trombetta said of Dowling. “She's the exact type of coach I was looking for and could connect with. I met the assistant coach on Wednesday and she was great too. I'm going to spend four years with those two people so I felt really comfortable around them. That made everything kind of perfect.”
Trombetta left Ann Arbor knowing she’d be back but she played it cool for a week before announcing her decision.
“Honestly, as soon as I walked out of the building I knew,” she said. “As soon as she had offered I knew that's where I wanted to go. I visited there when Mallory was looking there just to go to school and I was like, ‘This is an amazing school, an amazing campus.’ I just needed to wait a little bit to see how things were going to play out but I knew that's where I wanted to go. I already have a Michigan hat.”
Trombetta, who averages nearly 250 yards with her driver and almost 14 greens in regulation per round, is excited to put the recruiting process behind her so she can focus on her final two years of high school golf.
Last season, Trombetta shot a 163 in the three-round Division II state tournament, good for 12th place, and she hopes to return this season with a van full of Blue Devils.
“I want to help get that team to state,” she said. “That's what our goal is and I'm going to do everything I can in my power to help get our girls there. I got what I wanted to do and now it's my turn to pay it forward to our team and (Coach Karl) Schuld and help our school get to state. That's our goal, to get to state.”
Trombetta missed the first week of the 2016 season to compete in the Junior PGA Championship tournament at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I.
She shot a 70 on the first day and finished with back-to-back rounds of 77 to finish tied for 28th overall with a 224.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “I didn't realize the caliber of tournament it was until I got there. You see some of the girls that are there and one of them is committed to UCLA and another to Stanford and Lucy Li, who probably isn't even going to college but straight to the pros and she ended up winning it. To see the level of players that were was unbelievable. To be at the same tournament as them was so cool. It was the greatest experience that I've had so far in my golf career.”
Li, a 13-year old prodigy from Redwood, Calif., finished with a 7-under 206.
That experience provided Trombetta with a boost of confidence as she returned to the high school game.
She already has shot two rounds under par and won the Laurel Invitational.
“To realize that I can play at the level some of those girls are playing it is cool,” she said. “It helped me realize what I have to work on with my game and what I was pretty good at. I've been at 1-under a couple times so next is a couple under, which would be great. I know I’m very close. The next thing is just really nailing the short game down, which is the most important part. We've been talking about that all year. Once I can get that down I think I'll be able to shoot some really low scores and hopefully get to state and get the team to state. My goal is to do really well at state and possibly win it. That would be unbelievable.”
Trombetta certainly fast-tracked her way to Michigan but she didn’t get there alone.
“I've had four coaches in golf and my grandpa, Chuck Morrow (no relation to UM coach Mandi Morrow), has been my No. 1 fan and biggest supporter,” she said. “He started with me and still helps me on my short game, so I want to thank him. Jim Wise is my second coach. He was with me for about six months or a little more than that. He got me to that second tier. Nick Paez has brought me to the level I wanted to get to and he has really helped me take that next step. He has been unbelievable. Obviously, Coach Schuld too; I have known him since seventh grade basketball so he knows me so well and I know him so well. He's just awesome. I can't thank any of them enough. They’re all unbelievable and my family and teammates and friends too. There's no way I could have gotten here without them. I can't thank them enough.”