2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship: Preview, schedule, how to watch, course details

Rachel Heck of the Stanford Cardinal tees off during the fourth round of the Division I Women's Golf Championships.
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The top teams in college golf head to the Arizona desert this week for the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf National Championships, where 24 teams and 12 individuals (not on qualifying teams) will compete for the titles at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, May 20-25.

This year’s field features each of the top 10, and 19 of the top 20 teams in the Golfstat rankings (only No. 12 Florida is missing). Nine previous national champions (Alabama, Arizona State, Purdue, San Jose State, Stanford, TCU, UCLA, Georgia, Southern California) are in the field, which also features four teams from both California and Texas – the most of any states. Missing this week is defending champion Ole Miss, marking the first time the defending champ has not returned to the NCAAs since Washington won in 2016 and failed to qualify in 2017.

However, 17 of last year’s 24 teams are back, including three of the eight teams that advanced to the match play. Of note, the Stanford Cardinal come in as the No. 1 ranked team, while the Southern California Trojans arrive at Grayhawk off a record 14th regional title win. The Oregon Ducks, making their second straight and 12th overall championships appearance, captured their first regional title in Albuquerque, with junior Briana Chacon earning the program’s first individual title by four shots. Purdue, currently ranked 45th in the Golfstat rankings, is the lowest-ranked team to qualify for the tournament.

Stanford’s Rachel Heck, the 2021 individual champion, is aiming to become the first woman to claim multiple individual titles, although four schools – Arizona (1990-1991), Arizona State (1994-1995), Duke (2001-2002) and USC (2013-2014) – have had different players win in consecutive editions.

Meet the 24 teams in the field at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships (coach, ranking):

  • ARIZONA STATE (Missy Farr-Kaye; No. 7): The host Sun Devils, who extended their NCAA women’s golf record for championship appearances to 37, will compete for their ninth national title. Players: Alexandra Forsterling, Ashley Menne, Grace Summerhays, Alessandra Fanali, Calynne Rosholt.
  • ALABAMA (Mic Potter; No. 9): The Crimson Tide are making their 16th NCAA Championship appearance (15th under Potter) and will aim to improve on their last-place finish from last year. Players: Polly Mack, Benedetta Moresco, Angelica Moresco, Isabella van der Biest, Emilie Overas.
  • ARKANSAS (Shauna Taylor; No. 18): The Razorbacks won their first two tournaments of the fall season but struggled in the spring until their T-3 finish at the Ann Arbor regional. Players: Ela Anacona, Julia Gregg, Miriam Ayora, Kajal Mistry, Ffion Tynon.
  • AUBURN (Melissa Luellen; No. 17): Making their 20th NCAA appearance, the Tigers Auburn qualified in historic fashion, shooting the lowest NCAA regional round in program history and setting the Karsten Creek Golf Club course record for a single round. Players: Mychael O’Berry, Kaleigh Telfer, Anna Foster, Megan Schofill, Elina Sinz.
  • BAYLOR (Jay Goble; No. 16): The Bears, making their seventh appearance, qualified for the NCAAs in back-to-back seasons for the second time in school history and first since 2017-18. Players: Gurleen Kaur, Rosie Belsham, Britta Snyder, Addie Baggarly, Hannah Karg.
  • FLORIDA STATE (Amy Bond; No. 10): Making their 13th championship appearance the Seminoles qualified for Grayhawk by capturing top honors at the NCAA Regional for the second straight season, winning by 17 strokes. Players: Beatrice Wallen, Alice Hodge, Amelia Williamson, Cecilie Finne-Ipsen, Charlotte Heath.
  • GEORGIA (Josh Brewer; No. 27): The Bulldogs had two of the top-three individual finishers at Albuquerque regional to help secure their second straight and 24th overall berth at the NCAA Championships. Players: Jenny Bae, Candice Mahe, Jo Hua Hung, Caterina Don, LoraLie Cowart.
  • LSU (Garrett Runion; No. 14): The Tigers claimed their first SEC title since 1992 this season and followed up with a T-2 finish at the NCAA Regionals in Stanford. Players: Carla Tejedo, Ingrid Lindblad, Latanna Stone, Jessica Bailey, Esla Svensson.
  • MICHIGAN (Jan Dowling; No. 20): The Wolverines enter the NCAA Championships (second straight, fifth overall) with two wins in their last three tournaments, including winning their first Big Ten title. Players: Ashley Lau, Hailey Borja, Mikaela Schulz, Monet Chun, Sophia Trombetta, Ashley Kim.
  • MISSISSIPPI STATE (Charlie Ewing; No. 32): The Bulldogs will make just their third NCAA championships appearance and first since 2014. Players: Ashley Gilliam, Hannah Levi, Blair Stockett, Julia Lopez Ramirez, Ana Pina Ortega.
  • OKLAHOMA STATE (Greg Robertson; No. 6): The Cowgirls will look to avenge their finals loss in 2021, and they arrive at Greyhawk having recorded a top-three finish in every tournament they played this season, with six different players posting an individual victory. Players: Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, Han-Hsuan Yu, Rina Tatematsu, Lianna Bailey, Hailey Jones.
  • OREGON (Derek Radley; No. 2): The Ducks, who racked up a team-record five wins this season and finished top-five in all 11 events played, claimed the Pac-12 Championship and the NCAA Regional title in Albuquerque. Players: Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu, Sophie Kibsgaard Nielsen, Ching-Tzu Chen, Tze-Han (Heather) Lin.
  • PURDUE (Devon Brouse; No. 45): The Boilermakers are making their 18th championships appearance (all under Brouse, who will retire after this season) and first appearance since 2019. Players: Danielle du Toit, Inez Wanamarta, Sifat Sagoo, Ashley Kozlowski, Kan Bunnabodee.
  • SAN JOSE STATE (Dana Dormann; No. 5): The Spartans enter their 22nd NCAA Championships on the heels of three straight wins, including a victory at the Ann Arbor Regional on May 11. Players: Natasha Andrea Oon, Lucia Lopez Ortega, Antonia Malate, Kajsa Arwefjall, Louisa Carlbom.
  • STANFORD (Anne Walker; No. 1): The Cardinal enter their 12th straight and 36th overall NCAA Championships with five tournament wins this season and are led by reigning NCAA individual champion Rachel Heck. Players: Heck, Rose Zhang, Brooke Seay, Sadie Englemann, Aline Krauter, Caroline Sturdza.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA (Kalen Anderson; No. 3): The Gamecocks set a school record with five tournament wins this season and will make their 19th championships appearance (second straight). Players: Hannah Darling, Louise Rydqvist, Justine Fournand, Tai Anudit, Mathilde Claisse.
  • TEXAS (Ryan Murphy, No. 13): The Longhorns arrive at Grayhawk off their best two performances of the season, winning the Big 12 Championship and finishing second at Albuquerque regional. Players: Bentley Cotton, Bohyun Park, Sara Kouskova, Brigitte Thibault, Sophie Guo.
  • TEXAS A&M (Gerrod Chadwell; No. 19): In his first season as the Aggies’ head coach Chadwell — husband of LPGA star Stacy Lewis — leads the team to their first NCAA Championship appearance (14th overall) since 2015. Players: Jennie Park, Zoe Slaughter, Adela Cernousek, Blanca F. García-Poggio, Hailee Cooper.
  • TEXAS CHRISTIAN (Angie Ravaioli-Larkin; No. 31): Making their 13th NCAA Championship appearance and first since 2010, the Horned Frogs claimed their spot with a fourth-place finish at the Albuquerque regional. Players: Sabrina Iqbal, Caitlyn Macnab, Lois Lau, Valeria Pacheco, Trinity King.
  • UCLA (Carrie Forsyth; No. 15): The Bruins, making their 33rd appearance in the NCAAs, will take aim at their fourth national title and the 120th of the UCLA athletic program. Players: Emma Spitz, Caroline Canales, Emilie Paltrinieri, Alessia Nobilio, Zoe Campos, Ty Akabane.
  • USC (Justin Silverstein; No. 11): The Trojans are coming off an NCAA record 14th regional title, winning by eight strokes over hosts Stanford and LSU, while freshman Amari Avery won the individual regional title. Players: Avery, Brianna Navarrosa, Michaela Morard, Xin (Cindy) Kou, Katherine Muzi.
  • VANDERBILT (Greg Allen; No. 33): Coming off an eight-shot win at the NCAA Franklin Regional – their first victory of the season – the Commodores return to the NCAAs for the first time since 2019. Players: Auston Kim, Jayna Choi, Tess Davenport, Celina Sattelkau, Louise Yu.
  • VIRGINIA (Ria Scott; No. 8): Making their 12th championship appearance, the Cavaliers consistently finished top-five in events (10-of-11) this season but didn’t win a single stroke play title. Players: Amanda Sambach, Jennifer Cleary, Celeste Valinho, Beth Lillie, Rebecca Skoler, Riley Smyth.
  • WAKE FOREST (Kim Lewellen; No. 4): The Demon Deacons finished inside the top five in all 10 events this season, recording five wins, including an ACC Championship title. Players: Rachel Kuehn, Carolina Chacarra, Mimi Rhodes, Lauren Walsh, Virunpat Olankitkunchai.

Meet the 12 individual qualifiers for the 2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships:

An additional 12 players qualified to compete for the national individual title via the six NCAA Regional tournaments, where the top two individuals from each regional not on a qualifying team advanced to the opening 54-hole, stroke-play portion of the championships at Grayhawk GC.

  • Letizia Bagnoli, Florida Atlantic (senior; Florence, Italy); led team with 71.34 stroke average, four individual wins including C-USA Championship.
  • Camryn Carreon, UTSA (junior; San Antonio, Texas); led team with 73.79 scoring average, finished second at C-USA Championship.
  • Ruby Chou, Iowa State (sophomore; Taipei, Taiwan); 74.63 scoring average (fourth on team).
  • Marina Escobar Domingo, Florida (junior; Almeria, Spain); 72.6 stroke average, posted three top 10s and six top 25s.
  • Taglao Jeeravivitaporn, Iowa State (junior; Bangkok, Thailand); led team with 72.06 scoring average, and notched top-10s in 10 tournaments.
  • Emily Mahar, Virginia Tech (graduate student; Brisbane, Australia); led team with a 72.55 stroke average in 29 rounds, notched a team-high five top-five finishes.
  • Jana Melichova, Old Dominion (senior; Pikovice, Czech Republic); led team with 72.20 scoring average, shot program-record 65 in third round of Evie Odom Invitational in October (T-3).
  • Anna Morgan, Furman (junior; Spartanburg, SC); led team with 72.2 scoring average and posted top-five finishes in 11 events.
  • Leila Raines, Michigan State (sophomore; Galena, Ohio); 74.62 scoring average (fourth on team) in seven events.
  • Viera Permata Rosada, Sam Houston (sophomore; Jakarta, Indonesia); 77.03 scoring average over 11 tournaments.
  • Chiara Tamburlini, Ole Miss (junior; St. Gallen, Switzerland); led team with 72.62 scoring average in 10 tournaments, with three top-five and six top-10 finishes.
  • Natalia Yoko, Augusta (senior; Jakarta, Indonesia); first women in program history to advance to NCAA championships.

What format is used for the 2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships?

All 24 teams and 12 individual regional qualifiers will compete in 54 holes of stroke play (May 20-22), with the top 15 teams along with the top 12 individuals not on an advancing team moving on to one additional day of stroke play (May 23), which will determine the eight teams for the match play competition as well as the individual champion.

Any ties after 54 holes – either to determine the 15 teams or 12 individuals that reach the final round of stroke-play – will be broken by sudden-death playoff. Additionally, ties to determine the eight teams advancing to match play as well as the individual champion also will be broken by sudden-death playoff.

Following the conclusion of 72 holes of stroke, the top eight will advance to single-elimination match play with seeds determined by the team results. A total of five points will be available in each round with the first team to three points winning. Once a team has won three individual matches, any remaining individual matches will be halted at that point and the score recorded as it currently stood. Quarterfinals and semifinals are set for Tuesday, with the final on Wednesday.

About Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course:

This year marks the second straight year that the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club, located in Scottsdale, Ariz., less that 20 miles from the Arizona State campus, will host the women’s NCAA golf championships.

Designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1995, the Raptor Course will play as a par 72 (36-36), stretching 6,384 yards. The track is known for its generous fairways, large and undulated greens, and deep bunkers, which are especially noteworthy considering Fazio had to sculpt these features from what started as a flat piece of desert land.

Grayhawk, which will host the NCAA men’s tournament May 27-June 1, also will host the 2023 women’s and men’s championships before the tournaments move to the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa’s Champions Course in Carlsbad, California, for 2024. This year marks the seventh consecutive edition of the NCAA Division I Golf Championships that one course will host both the women’s and men’s championships in the same year in consecutive weeks.

Last year at Grayhawk Golf Club:

Last year as a freshman, Stanford’s Rachel Heck finished at 8-under 280 to win by one stroke over UCLA’s then-sophomore Emma Spitz, becoming the first golfer from Stanford to win the individual women’s title and just the ninth freshman to win it overall (first since Duke’s Virginia Elena Carta in 2016). Heck opened with three sub-par rounds (69-67-70) and entering the final day with a five-shot lead over the field. Heck shot 2-over 74 in the final round and held on for the win over Spitz, who fired a 68 on the last day.

In the team competition, Ole Miss defeated Oklahoma State 4-1 in the match-play final to capture the first women’s national title in any sport in school history. The Rebels were seeded fourth after the stroke-play portion of the tournament and proceeded to defeat No. 5 seed Texas 3-2 in the quarterfinals before beating No. 8 seed Arizona in the semifinals, also by 3-2. Ole Miss’ 4-1 triumph over the third-seeded Cowgirls in the finals marked the largest margin of victory in a final since the tournament adopted the match-play format in 2015.

How to watch the 2022 NCAA Women’s Division I Golf Championships:

Coverage of the NCAA Women’s Division I Golf Championships begins Monday, May 23, with the individual competition followed by coverage of team match play on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24 and 25. All Golf Channel coverage also streams on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

(*all times ET)
(*all times ET)
(*all times ET)
 ENCORES (*all times ET)
 Monday, May 23  5-9 p.m.  4-5 p.m.  9-10 p.m.  10 p.m.-2 a.m.; 3-5:30 a.m.; 9-11:30 a.m. (Tuesday)
 Tuesday, May 24  Noon-2:30 p.m.; 5-9 p.m.  11:30 a.m.-noon; 4:30-5 p.m.  9-10 p.m.  10 p.m.-2 a.m.; 3-5 a.m. (Wednesday)
 Wednesday, May 25  5-9 p.m. ET  4:30-5 p.m.  9-10 p.m.  10 p.m.-2 a.m.

The NBC Sports’ golf research team contributed to this report. 

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Diana Flores looks to break down gender barriers with turn as AFC offensive coordinator in 2023 Pro Bowl

Courtesy Diana Flores

Diana Flores admits she was surprised when she became a viral sensation last spring, courtesy of a 15-second slow-motion clip showcasing her evasive maneuvers and fancy footwork while leaving at least three defenders in the dirt during Mexico’s 2022 national collegiate flag football championship.

“I never expected someone to record that moment,” said Mexico City native Flores, who led her team – the Monterrey Tech Borregos – to their third consecutive national title as a senior last May. “I was just having fun. I was just playing the game I love and then days later to see that it was viral on the internet — it was crazy. But at the same time, it was exciting because I remember when I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of flag football role models to follow. So now, for me to be a role model for many boys and girls that play my sport is something that really makes me happy and proud and also motivates me to keep getting better.”

Flores, who led the Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team to a gold medal at the 2022 World Games, will have the chance to promote her sport on one of the world’s biggest stages this weekend when she serves as the AFC offensive coordinator for the NFL’s 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Flores will be joined by Peyton Manning as the AFC head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator. On the NFC side, U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback Vanita Krouch will serve as offensive coordinator, with Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as defensive coordinator.

“I think that this has been one of the best things in my life,” she recently told On Her Turf about her Pro Bowl appointment. “It is like a dream. I mean, I grew up watching football, watching the NFL, playing flag football. And now to be able to be part of all of this — it is bigger than my biggest dreams.”

Flores’ football dreams began as when she was just 8 years old. Her father — who played quarterback for the perennial football powerhouse Monterrey Tech program — took her to a practice and she fell in love with the sport. But as the time there were no teams for girls her age, so she played with girls twice her age and used it to her advantage, focusing on her own abilities and sharpening her skills. By age 14 she was playing NFL Flag in Mexico, where she was the only girl in the league, and at 15 she started playing NFL Flag in the U.S, where she finally played on an all-girls team.

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“I remember when I started playing, I used to receive a lot of like comments, directly and indirectly from other people, like, ‘Why do you play that sport? That’s not a girls’ sport, that sport is for boys, you’re get injured, you’re going to get hurt, don’t play with boys, that’s too rude.’ And the list keeps going. But my mom and dad were so supportive. They always encouraged me not to listen to anybody, to just follow my passion.

“And I think thanks to them, I’ve always had this mentality that gender doesn’t matter. It just matters how passionate you are about your dreams, how hard you work for what you want to achieve. And that you will always demonstrate what you’re made for, depending on the hard work you do. So, I’ve lived through that [negativity], I have experienced that. And I think that it has been one of my biggest blessings to be able to experience — for myself — what sport can do and how gender barriers get broken when you follow your dreams and you connect with other people through your passion.”

At just 16 years old, Flores made Mexico’s national team, playing in the first of four Flag Football World Championships – so far. Last summer at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, the 24-year-old Flores led Mexico to a 6-0 record, which included two wins over the U.S. women, who took silver. In the gold medal game against the United States, she completed 20 of 28 pass attempts for 210 yards and four touchdowns in Mexico’s 39-6 victory. She finished the tournament with 23 touchdown passes, the third-most among women’s teams, and she was the only starting quarterback to beat USA’s star QB, Krouch, who is 19-1 in international tournament play.

All that international experience so early in her career has given Flores a wise-beyond-her-years approach to playing flag football, a sport where she was frequently the only female player on the field and often the only Latin American as well.

“When I first came to the U.S., it was a little shocking to notice that I was probably the only Latin American girl playing,” she recalls. “But I think that it was easy for me because I got all the support from my coaches and my teammates. And since a young age, I think that I started to realize that sometimes what you do is for something bigger than yourself. That’s why you have to always give your best, in any situation. Even at that young age, I understood that I was representing more than myself on the field, I was representing Latin American people, Latin American girls in a sport that [many people thought] was meant to be for boys.”

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

One door Flores hopes to help open is the one leading to the Olympics. Flag football is on the short list being considered for inclusion in Los Angeles in 2028 Los Angeles. As an ambassador for flag football for the NFL and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), she’s participated in talks with the International Olympic Committee, and just last month she was joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in Mexico City where they joined forced to promote women’s empowerment and inclusion.

“I think for me, that experience is one of my top three,” she said of spending time with Biden. “I call them gifts from life, something that you didn’t expect it to happen, and somehow, one day, you’re right there in front of the First Lady. I admire her for what she does for boys and girls, for empowering woman and giving opportunities for everybody to achieve their dreams. So it was truly an honor to meet her, and also to be able to keep impacting my sport, not only on the field, but [off] the field, and have the opportunity keep inspiring others and keep impacting the world.”

As for what she hopes fans at the Pro Bowl and viewers at home take away from Sunday’s flag football showcase, Flores hopes they’ll see the characteristics that made her fall in love with flag in the first place: creativity, speed, agility, teamwork, passion and a lot of heart.

“I hope to show to all little girls and women that dreams come true, that nothing is impossible, to keep inspiring and opening opportunities and doors for women in sports, especially in the world of the NFL and football and flag football,” she says. “We’re going to make history, and I am so proud and happy for that. I’m really hoping that it is just the first step, not only for me, but for all the women that are coming after me.”

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Flag football star Vanita Krouch ‘living the dream’ ahead of NFL Pro Bowl debut as NFC coordinator


When Vanita Krouch got the news that she was named NFC offensive coordinator for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback admits her jaw nearly hit the ground.

And then she realized something even more profound.

“For the longest time, thinking about the moment, everything, you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is a dream come true. Is this really happening?’” said the 42-year-old Krouch, known as the “Tom Brady of flag football” with a 19-1 record as USA’s starting quarterback in international tournaments since 2018.

“But then I started thinking to myself: You know what? None of us grew up thinking of this as a dream to obtain. So really, it’s kind of reversed where I’m living a dream. I get to be a pioneer in this growth of flag football for all and inclusion for all, youth and adults, [women and men]. It’s such an inclusive sport, and I get to be a part of this growth and still actively play. It’s exciting. I’m literally living the dream. I’m very much like, ‘Guys, don’t pinch me. Let me keep sleeping.’”

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Krouch will be joined by Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as NFC defensive coordinator. On the AFC side, Mexico Women’s National Flag Football quarterback Diana Flores will serve as offensive coordinator, with Peyton Manning as head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator.

But Krouch’s journey to the Pro Bowl stage began under the unlikeliest of circumstances and was inspired by her own family odyssey, which began in Cambodia during the horrific regime of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Krouch’s mother, Phonnary Krouch, fled the country with three young sons in tow, running by night and hiding by day to escape, finding safety initially at a refugee camp in the Philippines. That’s where she welcomed Vanita, in September 1980, and two months later the family made its way to the United States. Krouch’s father exited the picture upon their arrival in America, leaving Phonnary to raise four children alone.

“In a nutshell, my mom is an amazing woman,” said Krouch, who first found sports via an elementary school flyer advertising youth soccer in Carrollton, Texas. “On the journey, she had a lot of trials, tribulations, … and after our dad left us, it was just mom and four kids in this little one-bedroom apartment. So, it was a challenge. I’m just so amazed by her strength and will to never give up.”

She also credits her mom for standing up to then-stereotypical notions that Asian girls should not play sports.

“I’m just thankful, honestly, that my mom allowed me to break the Asian culture barriers of a woman playing sports because that’s not easy,” she said. “She faced a lot of backlash from the community. But she said, ‘Hey, my child’s making good grades. She’s healthy, she’s good. She’s staying off the streets. I don’t see a problem.’ And she just let me do it. I was just lucky to have a mom that let me spread my wings.”

Krouch also had a few mentors along the way. Her elementary school PE teacher, Toni Neibes, stepped in to pay for those initial soccer fees and continued her support as Krouch transitioned to basketball in the fourth grade. She fell in love with the sport and excelled at it as well, eventually earning a full scholarship to play college basketball at Southern Methodist University. She wears the No. 4 to this day in honor of Niebes, who wore the same number as a young athlete. She also credits her fourth-grade teacher, Judy Ward, as having a lasting impact after the teacher made a habit out of showing up for her youth basketball games.

She pays tribute to them both through her clothing line, 4Ward Apparel, which features ever-changing collections emblazoned with relevant slogans encouraging female empowerment, inclusion and her personal mantra of “paying it forward” – something she does with the line itself. Each month, Krouch donates a portion of the sales to individuals, families or organizations in need.

After graduating SMU in 2003, Krouch continued to play basketball in semi-pro and adult leagues, but she was still searching for something to satisfy her competitive drive. She and a former college teammate stumbled on flag football during a Google search for local Dallas-area activities, and the rest – as they say – is history.

“It was like I drank the Kool Aid and I never looked back,” she says of her start in flag in 2006. “It’s just like every game, every play is a new challenge, and it’s addictive for a competitor, so I just fell in love with flag. I actually think I’m way better at flag than I was at basketball.”

She moved into the quarterback position through some sly maneuvering by current USA Women’s Flag Football head coach Chris Lankford. They were playing together in a local tournament when he “tricked” her into the QB position, despite Krouch knowing “zero football language.”

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“One day I showed up for a tournament and I asked, ‘All right, guys, who’s our quarterback?’ And he says, ‘We’re looking at her,’” she remembers. They kept the plays simple, and her team made it to the playoffs that season. Krouch has been a QB ever since.

Krouch joined the national team in 2016 and was inducted into the National Flag and Touch Football Hall Fame that same year. Last year at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, a 41-year-old Krouch set a new mark as the oldest Flag football player, man or woman, in the games, and she ranked second among women with 25 touchdown passes at the tournament where USA won silver.

She aims to bring that expertise to the field at the Pro Bowl games, where she’s looking forward to seeing NFL players take on the flag football style type of plays. “Flag is a very finesse, quick game, a lot of footwork, and these guys can’t grab or hold, no downfield contact or downfield block or anything off the line,” she explains. “So it’s going to be exciting just to see skill for skill, footwork for footwork, defense to offense, and to see flag football language with those type of elite athletes.”

As for the biggest challenge, Krouch believes it will be crafting a concise playbook and language that puts everyone on the same page. “A challenge for me is getting a coach’s mindset,” she adds, “I have to actually come up with plays ahead of time and I don’t usually have premeditated plays in my head. I just read it so for me to tell Kirk Cousins or Geno Smith [what to do], it will be different, you know?”

But beyond the Pro Bowl, Krouch is excited that flag is being considered for inclusion as an exhibition sport in the 2028 Summer Olympics. While she’s keeping a hopeful eye on that development, she’s also working to shape the next generation of potential athletes as a physical education teacher at La Villita Elementary in Irving, Texas.

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

“It’s an honor to be a role model – for other youth flag football players, for my students, both boys and girls,” says Krouch. “Then at my campus and in my community, it’s amazing to be able to break the barrier of like, ‘Asian women can’t do this.’ And then to be at my age, still doing this, I feel very lucky and blessed. …I think I still got some years in me.”

As for what she hopes viewers and fans walk away with after watching the Pro Bowl flag games this weekend, Krouch feels confident folks will walk away enlightened by the show.

“I just hope that they have fun with it,” says Krouch. “And for those who don’t know flag to be like, ‘Wow, that’s really amazing. Maybe that’s something I really can get my son or daughter into at a young age.’ So I just hope that they see that the sport is real – it’s not just something we play at recess. It’s a real thing now. I think they’ll see that the world loves it, the world can play it and is playing it.”

Be sure to check back with On Her Turf later this week when we catch up with AFC coordinator and Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team quarterback Diana Flores.  

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