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All-American Ready for Year Five

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Two days away from graduation, senior golfer Renate Grimstad had plans of walking across the stage and collecting the degree she had worked so hard for over her four years at Miami, while also preparing to cap a historic season with one final run at NCAAs.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the world, her collegiate golf career was placed on hold, while a level of uncertainty began to spread across the planet.

“I remember pretty early, when this all happened, people would start talking about what is going to happen to the seniors, what is going to happen to everybody who had their season end out of nowhere because of this,” Grimstad said. “And I was hoping in the back of my head that the NCAA and the University would come around and sort of grant another year of eligibility to the seniors.”

Prior to the decision by governing bodies across the world to cancel sporting events, the Bergen, Norway, native, led the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 71.00 scoring average and a -0.85 relative to par score through 20 rounds of competition.

“…It was my senior year and obviously I got off to a really good start and I was very excited to see all the things that could happen in the spring with the ACC [Championship], the National Championship and everything coming up. Then to have it all sort of taken away from you like that, it was truly heartbreaking,” Grimstad said. “So, it means so much right now that the NCAA and the University of Miami are granting another year of eligibility to seniors like myself, for us to come back and pretty much finish what we started.”

Immediately following a decision last month by the NCAA announcing spring student-athletes could have an extra year of eligibility, Grimstad knew she wanted to return to Miami and quickly reached out to parents to inform them of the news, and she said they both were “super excited.”

“So, definitely for me, the process of returning for a fifth year was easy. I knew it right away, once all the bad news came in, I was like, ‘if they ever announce we can return, I will return,'” Grimstad said. “I want to stay a part of the U family for as long as I can; be on campus, be around the people, grow and learn as much as possible during this last year that I am going to get now. I am very excited and so determined to make it worth it.”

Following a historic spring season, which ended with Grimstad shattering the program’s scoring average record, Grimstad garnered a pair of All-American accolades, earning second team honors by the WGCA and honorable mention status through Golfweek.

Now in his 10th season as Miami’s assistant head coach, John Koskinen is excited for what a fifth year could mean for Grimstad.

“I feel like Renni finally believes in herself the way we believe in her,” Koskinen said. “Having a player return who is coming off an All-American year is a huge bonus for us. I think Renni feels like she has unfinished business. She is going to be dangerous next year.”

As announced Tuesday, Grimstad will be joined by fellow classmate Macarena Aguilera, as the duo will both return for one more season in Orange and Green.

Sharing Koskinen’s excitement, Miami head coach Patti Rizzo is overjoyed to have another year to coach her two seniors.

“For Renni and Maca to both be returning, that is a gift for us,” Rizzo said. “Renni has been on a streak and Maca has now had time to heal from her knee surgery, so I am also expecting her to help the team next year. They are both wonderful young women, great students, great teammates and great golfers. So, I am thrilled to have them back.”

Overall, Miami will boast a competitive lineup of eight student-athletes in the fall of 2020, before welcoming a ninth in the spring, as highly-recognized incoming freshmen Sara Byrne and Nataliya Guseva are set to join the Hurricanes.

“Having nine players whom are all good is a first for us,” Rizzo said. “We never had to have much qualifying [practice rounds] before this past season, but having qualifiers, I believe, is better for the team because it forces everyone to stay on their toes, work hard and fight for a spot. It is a much more competitive atmosphere and that’s something we have needed for a long time.”

Rizzo is not the only one excited for the competition set to unfold next season, as Grimstad also knows the added competition will go a long way in the team’s continuous development.

“I think the extra year of experience, and now with new players coming in and old players still a part of the team, naturally, you know, people will get expectations, we might start expecting greater things and we want to do much better than we have been doing,” Grimstad said. “It is sort of like that internal level of competition that will be on the team, it is going to be a really good thing for all of us to have to fight for our position every single day.

“Yet again, I think it is important that we don’t get to caught up in expectations or goals except that, if we all can make each other better every single day, challenge each other in all aspects of life, not just golf, but in terms of values and who we are as people and our priorities and how we treat each other, how we treat ourselves, I think that will be very important,” Grimstad continued.