ATLANTA – Five months after its surprising run to the NCAA finals, Baylor is still looking for its first top-10 finish of the season.
The Bears have struggled mightily since the loss of All-American sophomore Dylan Kim, who underwent surgery Oct. 20 to remove a benign leg tumor.
Kim’s recovery could take up to six months, which puts her in line to receive a medical redshirt for this season. She tied for 47th individually in her lone start; without Kim, the Bears have finished 15th and 10th as a team.
“I can’t see her coming back until next year,” Baylor coach Jay Goble said. “She still talks like she wants to be ready for the postseason, but if she can’t play until April, I’d rather her just redshirt.”
For years Kim merely thought that she had tightness in her left hip; it was why she said she could never fully shift to her left side during her swing. It wasn’t until a workout last month that she felt a pop in that area. An MRI later revealed the tumor.
The surgery was more extensive than doctors previously imagined. It took three-and-a-half hours, and the surgeon needed to cut her pelvic bone, pull back her muscle and dislocate her hip just to scoop out the tumor that had wrapped around the hip joint and was nearly 11 centimeters long and about the size of a fist.
“The MRI looked like a bullseye right there,” Goble said. “It’s unbelievable how big it was.”
Kim, who enrolled in January, before the start of the spring semester, recorded the third-best stroke average in program history (73.08) and earned All-American honors. She finished fourth at the NCAA Championship, then went 2-0-1 in match play in helping the Bears reach the match-play final.
Reinforcements could be on the way. Maria Vesga of Colombia is expected to join the team in January, and Goble is hopeful that another highly regarded junior, Fiona Liddell, a member of the German national team, will decide to enroll early.
“We have good players here,” he said. “We just have to get the players that we have better.”
Baylor is set to face No. 1-ranked Southern Cal in the first round of the East Lake Cup.