Former Youngstown State women's golfer Aislynn Merling has joined the Penguins' coaching staff, Head Coach Nate Miklos announced on Tuesday. Merling was a standout with the program from 2011-12 to 2014-15.
During her four-year YSU career, Merling played in every round of every tournament and saw action in a school-record 99 rounds. She was a three-time tournament medalist, recorded 23 top-10 finishes and was her team's top finisher 21 times.
As a senior in 2015, she helped lead the Penguins to their third Horizon League Championship and was named to the league's all-tournament team after a fifth-place finish. During her final season, she earned 10 top-10 finishes in 13 tournaments while golfing in a school-record 30 rounds.
"We are very excited that Aislynn is returning to the program as an assistant coach," Miklos said. "She and fellow assistant coach Emily Robertson (Dixon) each played critical roles in leading our team to the Horizon League Championship in 2015. We couldn't be more excited to have both of them as part of our staff as we move into the next chapter of Penguin golf."
Merling burst on the scene by winning her collegiate debut at the YSU Invitational in the fall of 2011. She was named to the Horizon League's All-Conference and All-Tournament Teams as a junior in 2014, finishing second at the Horizon League Championships with a three-round score of 230. The York, Pa., native was also named to the Horizon League All-Academic Team in 2014 and 2015.
The former Penguin holds two of the 10-lowest, single-season scoring averages in program history. Her average of 77.0 strokes per round in 2014-15 ranks third and her mark of 78.1 in 2013-14 ranks ninth. In addition, her career average of 79.2 is the third lowest in school history.
Merling posted a number of the most impressive rounds in program history during her career, including a two-round 140 (71-69) at the Delta Gamma Challenge in 2015 which set a school mark for the lowest 36-hole performance. Her first-round 71 is tied for the fourth-lowest round in school history while her second-round 69 ranks as the second lowest.
Merling has recently worked as the Assistant Golf Professional at Olde Stonewall Golf Club in Ellwood City, Pa. She is currently a PGA apprentice and working through the PGA program. After graduating from YSU, she competed on the SunCoast Tour in the winter of 2016 and twice at the LPGA Qualifying School. Her best finish came in 2016 when she finished tied for 93rd out of 347 golfers with rounds of 72-76-74-73, coming up just one shot short of advancing to the next stage.
"Aislynn was a leader during her time as a Penguin and I have no doubt that she'll add a lot to the team now as a coach," Miklos said. "She brings tremendous experience from her playing career and her teaching as a professional."
Merling and former YSU baseball player Nic Manuppelli live outside of Pittsburgh with their two dogs, Wyatt and Vito.
The YSU women's golf team will begin its 2018-19 season by hosting the fifth annual Roseann Schwartz Invitational at Mill Creek Park Golf Course in Boardman, Ohio, on Sept. 3-4.