Sophomore Isabel Amezcua has stepped in and stepped up early and often for NC State’s women’s golf team. The second-year golfer from Mexico City, Mexico saw significant playing time last year, appearing in all seven of the Pack’s major events. Amezcua impressed right away and ended the year with a 77.33 stroke average, which ended up as the second-best mark on the team.
As Latinx Heritage Month continues its celebration at NC State, Amezcua feels honored to be part of the 1,412 undergraduate students with Hispanic heritage.
“Being Mexican and representing my country wherever I go is just amazing,” Amezcua said. “I think being from this country has really shaped the way I am. It really defines why I am the way I am. And I am just always so proud to represent Mexico.”
Prior to her stint at NC State, Amezcua represented Mexico well, being rated as the fourth-best golfer in the Mexico Girls’ 16-18 Division. Right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amezcua earned six top-three finishes in national and international tournaments in the 2019 season.
“I've been lucky enough as a golfer to travel internationally and still carry the Mexican flag wherever I am,” Amezcua said. “And even when I'm at a turn at a college tournament, I'm still representing the Pack and my country. And it just feels amazing being part of these two teams.”
Amezcua carried that dominance over to the Wolfpack, with one of her best showings coming in the Palmetto Intercollegiate where she notched a 73 in the second round, which remains her best performance in 18 holes. Amezcua also stood out at the Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate, where she put up scores of 76, 74 and 78, respectively, across three rounds.
The second-year golfer said getting to play against some of the best schools in the ACC carried significant weight, and she felt like she was playing for something greater than herself.
“I don’t want to say Mexico is a small country, but it is a small percentage of athletes who are successful and get to college,” Amezcua said. “It's just amazing, having the opportunity to be here and still represent Mexico.”
Though the decision to come to NC State wasn’t evident at first, Amezcua said coming to campus for the first time solidified her decision.
“[At] NC State, I've always gotten a sense of family,” Amezcua said. “Family's always been so important to me. And it just felt like home. I walked in, the coaches, the people, everyone was just so welcoming to me, to my culture. And of course, it helped knowing that more Mexicans are coming on the team. And there's an Argentine on the team, so that also just felt like home at the end.”
As for NC State’s efforts toward cultural acceptance, Amezcua said she felt respected by the University and appreciated the events it holds during Latinx Heritage Month.
“I think one of the best things I've seen was when it was the Mexican Independence Day, Talley was decorated as it would be back at home,” Amezcua said. “Just the little things. Also, being able to speak my differences, knowing that I will not be criticized for where I'm from, and [NC State] made sure that this is a welcoming environment for me to embrace my culture and not be afraid to show who I am and where I come from.”
Amezcua and the rest of the women’s golf team have a huge void to fill this season with the loss of Monika Vicario, who graduated the program last season after finishing tied for eighth place in the ACC Championships.
However, according to Amezcua, the Wolfpack is well equipped for the task, despite a less-than-stellar start to the season due to the familial aspects of the team. The Pack will get a chance to start its bounce-back campaign at Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational later this month.
“I think the best thing is just being welcoming,” Amezcua said. “And there's never been a problem with me being from Mexico. Everyone's just so open to different things, and they're willing to listen and go above and beyond to make you comfortable and make you feel at home.”