ST. LOUIS – The first black U.S. Curtis Cup player, Mariah Stackhouse is focused on making a lot more history this weekend at St. Louis Country Club.
"To be the first African-American on the Curtis Cup team is amazing," the 20-year-old Stanford player said. "I don't look at myself as a trail blazer. But I think that it is really cool."
The biennial event against Britain and Ireland opens Friday at the Charles Blair Macdonald-designed course. The United States leads the series 27-7-3, but is trying to regain the cup after falling 10-9 in 2012 at Nairn in Scotland. The loss was the Americans' first since 1996.
Captain Ellen Port, from St. Louis, has had former U.S. players talk to her team about the matches.
"It's about enjoying yourself and winning it for your country, and I think there's a lot of emphasis placed on that," Stackhouse, from Riverdale, Ga., said Thursday. "Just meeting them and seeing how passionate they are about it, that's enough to get us worked up and we're like, we have to bring that Cup home. That's what we're here for. We love each other and we want to win together, for Captain, for each other, for America, for home."
On Friday and Saturday, there will be three morning foursomes matches and three afternoon four-ball matches. On Sunday, the competition will close with eight singles.
"It's not about beating another opponent," Port said. "It's about trying to be the best you can be. I feel like if everybody is doing that, the competition is going to be great."
Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow, coming off her senior season at Alabama, is back for Britain and Ireland after playing on the winning team two years ago.
"It's always exciting to win away from home, for the supporters that we do have here, which is actually quite a few," Meadow said. "A lot have made a long trip to come follow us, and it would be really special."
Stackhouse is joined in the U.S. lineup by UCLA's Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., and Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash.; Southern California's Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., and Annie Park of Levittown, N.Y.; Mississippi State's Ally McDonald of Fulton, Miss.; Clemson's Ashlan Ramsey of Milledgeville, Ga.; and Alabama's Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky.
Britain and Ireland, captained by Wales' Tegwen Matthews, has three other U.S. college players. Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh plays at Tulane, England's Bronte Law at UCLA, and England's Charlotte Thomas at Washington. England's Gabriella Cowley, Annabel Dimmock and Georgia Hall and Scotland's Eilidh Briggs complete the team.