Timing is everything, and the reason Dallas Baptist University has a good women's golf team now is because Mercedes Rios didn't have very good year as a high school junior.
"After I won State my senior year, there were some college coaches trying to see if I wanted to leave," Rios said. "But I made a commitment, and I was going to keep it."
"When she committed, the ball just started rolling, and each year I've gotten some top players in the state the last three to four years," said DBU women's golf head coach Kenny Trapp. "So getting that first one was huge for us."
Rios has exceeded expectations since arriving. The senior has nine career wins; that's more than any other active player in women's college golf — in any division.
"Whenever other girls say, 'I finally got my first win,' I kind of think, 'I have 9 of those.' It kind of hits me then," said Rios. "But I still want to get more."
Rios won her final high school tournament when she won State for Colleyville Heritage, and she hasn't stopped winning since — three times as a freshman; twice as a sophomore; three more as a junior; and once so far this year.
No one else playing women's college golf right now has more wins than she does.
"You always think about people who refuse to lose, and she's just one of those people," said Erin Barrington, a junior on the DBU squad. "I've never seen anybody so persistent on the golf course ever before."
"If there's one person on my team who I know will perform under pressure, it's 100 percent her," Barrington added.
"When we first started out, we were dead-last in the country, and I think we were up in the Top 10 the last couple years," Trapp said. "Not only her, but the way she's helped us recruit players who are even better. So she's meant a lot... to say the least."
Trapp helped start the DBU women's golf program in 2005, but 2010 may end up being a more significant year — when Mercedes Rios arrived as a freshman.