By Bill Sorrell
Free Spirit Plays Grown-Up Ball
Ashley Farrell is a kid at heart.
She takes coloring books on road trips, plays with Play-Doh and swings on the playground. She loves the Food Network and being full-blooded Italian (her mother’s maiden name is Boffa); she eats “anything Italian.”
A dyed-in-the-wool “cheesehead,” she loves the Green Bay Packers and their quarterback, Brett Favre. “He is a natural leader,” she says.
Farrell and her boyfriend went to historic Lambeau Field and saw the Packers play in September 2005. She wore a cheesehead hat. She has considered getting married on Lambeau’s 50-yard line. That may vault her into ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day, she says.
“I’m a happy, free-spirited person,” says Farrell, who plays a grown-up game of basketball for the Rhodes women’s team.
A point guard, Farrell has the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (and school) record for 3-point percentage (47 of 76 for .618 percent in the 2005-06 season).
Last season, she set school records in free throw (.825) and field goal (.530) percentages and led the team in steals (18). Her 14.7 points per game average and 2.9 assists each ranked second for the Lady Lynx, who tied a school record for wins as they went 18-8.
After being named SCAC Newcomer of the Year and second team all-conference as a first-year, Farrell, a junior from Collierville, TN, was first team all-conference her sophomore season. She was named the Most Valuable Player of her first college tournament at Transylvania (KY).
“She’s a multitalented player; she’s not one-dimensional,” says coach Matt Dean. “She can play the 1, 2 or 3 and draws a tough defensive assignment every night. She’s a natural leader on the floor, an extension of the coaching staff. She never really has a bad day. She comes to work every day playing hard, and with more confidence in her leadership role.”
An aggressive player who dives for loose balls on the floor, she has overcome sprained ankles and busted kneecaps and shins.
“We come every day to make each other better. Our team chemistry is unbelievable,” Farrell says.
Instinct, Ability Score on the LinksWhether high or low, John Jennison doesn’t show.
“I never know whether he’s 6-over par or 6-under par because of his attitude. He’s got a great demeanor on the course. He can handle the good and the bad,” says Rhodes golf coach Bill Cochran.
With his mental toughness and “great mechanics,” Jennison, a senior, had the highest finish of any men’s golfer at Rhodes when he was runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Division 3 championship at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, NE, in May 2006.
Shooting 291, Jennison finished two strokes behind the University of Rochester’s Stephen Goodridge, who was the 2005 Division 3 freshman golfer of the year.
Jennison’s 71 was the lowest of the final round. At 1,228, Rhodes finished eighth. It was the Lynx’s first trip to the NCAA tournament in 35 years. Jennison, the team captain from St. Augustine, FL, was voted a first team All-American.
After Jennison’s NCAA performance, he boarded a plane in Lincoln and flew to Spain to study Spanish for a month. He then went to New York City, where he worked as an intern for the financial company UBS. He served an internship at Bear Stearns in Los Angeles in 2005. His internships, he says, have “given me confidence to trust my instincts and do what’s best.”
In 2004, Jennison’s 67 paced Rhodes to the SCAC championship. Also that year, he shot a personal-best 63 to help the Lynx set a tournament record for a single-day low round. Rhodes shot a sizzling 22-under par 258 at the 33rd annual Marine Federal Credit Union Intercollegiate Golf Tournament on Paradise Point courses at Camp Lejeune, NC. Three of Jennison’s teammates, Chris Thompson ’05, Will Levy ’04 and Carter Lawnin ’07, each shot 65 that day.
“It stands as one of the lowest rounds ever recorded in collegiate golf in any division,” said Cochran.
“John practices hard, and it’s serious,” says Cochran. Jennison’s techniques have enabled him to be good at ball striking, chipping and putting.
At Rhodes, he has a career scoring average of 74. He has been inspired by his father, Jay Jennison, a top amateur who has competed in both the U.S. and British Amateur tournaments. After graduation, Jennison plans to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“It’s not easy to walk away from competitive golf,” says the 6-4, 215-lb. Jennison. “Unlike with most sports, I have the opportunity to play at a top level of golf the rest of my life.”