* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming Women’s Golf Coach Josey Stender has announced the signing of three high school student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Erika Cook of Greybull, Wyo., Lucia Morelli of Mercer Island, Wash., and Emerson Purcell of New Albany, Ohio, have all committed to play golf for the University of Wyoming beginning in the fall of 2024.

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“We are thrilled to sign three tremendous student-athletes who will bring a great deal of nationally competitive experience with them,” said Stender. “All three will fit well in our program culture as they are high achievers, team oriented and coachable.

Emerson (Purcell) is a fantastic ball striker whose game has the ability to travel and adapt to a variety of golf environments. She has been under the tutelage of the Hall of Fame former Ohio State coach, Therese Hession, so her skill set will transition quickly to the college game.

“Erika (Cook) is a natural athlete who has accomplished so much, not just in Wyoming, but in the region in a relatively short time as a golfer. We are fortunate to keep her close to home, and I’m excited to see her make more of an impact.

“Lucia (Morelli) has developed into one of the top golfers in Washington and the Northwest over the last few years. She is a true student of the game, very mature course manager, really an overall solid game from top to bottom.”

Erika Cook, Greybull, Wyo (Lovell High School)

Erika Cook will stay home in the state of Wyoming for her collegiate golf career. Cook is from Greybull, Wyo., but played for Lovell High School. Cook was named the WyoPreps Athlete of the Year for girls’ golf in the fall of 2023 and was also the Wyoming Girls’ Player of the Year in 2021. She became only the third girl’s golfer in state of Wyoming history to win four consecutive state individual titles. She was named All-State all four years of high school. In 2020, Cook was a member of Lovell’s 3A State Championship Team. Cook won 3A West Conference Championships in 2020, ‘22 and ‘23.

In June of 2023, Cook placed first at the Junior World Qualifier played at Jacoby Golf Course in Laramie. Cook set the ladies’ course record at the Powell Golf Course in August of 2021 when she fired a round of 61. She went on to win the 2021 Powell Club Championship by 29 strokes. Cook also holds the ladies’ course record at Midway Golf Club in Basin, Wyo., with a round of 64, and she holds the ladies course record at Olive Glenn Golf Course in Cody, Wyo., with a round of 66. Cook has been an “A” Honor Roll student throughout her high school career. She played for head golf coach Dane Robertson at Lovell High.

She is one of three children of Angela and Casey Cook. Cook plans to study business at Wyoming and one day hopes to own her own business. She was also recruited by the University of Delaware and the University of Texas.

Lucia Morelli, Mercer Island, Wash. (Mercer Island High School)

Lucia Morelli twice placed in the Top 20 at the 3A Washington State Golf Championships, finishing 16th in 2022 and 13th in 2023. She was a leader of a Mercer Island High team that placed fourth at the 2022 3A State Championship and sixth at the 2023 3A State Championship. Class 3A is the second largest classification in the state of Washington. A two-year team captain in 2023 and ‘24 and a four-year letter winner, Morelli earned First Team All-Conference honors in the KingCo 3A Conference in both 2022 and ‘23. She was part of a team that won conference championships in both 2021 and ‘22.

She had an outstanding amateur season in 2023, winning the 2023 Rocky Mountain Junior Golf Tour (RMJT) Seattle Junior Open that was held at the Golf Club at Newcastle in Newcastle, Wash. Morelli tied for third at the 2023 Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) Girls Junior Amateur Championship played at North Bellingham Golf Course in Bellingham, Wash., and she placed 10th at the 2023 Washington Junior Golf Association (WJGA) Western Open played at the Capitol City Golf Course in Lacey, Wash.

Morelli has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society from 2022 to the present. She is a member of First Tee and of the Junior Advisory Board. Morelli played for head golf coach Nathaniel Colo at Mercer Island High.

She is the youngest of two children of Sheryl and McRedmond Morelli. Morelli plans to study kinesiology at Wyoming with plans to go on to study physical therapy. She was also recruited by TCU and Washington State.

Emerson Purcell, New Albany, Ohio (New Albany High School)

Emerson Purcell helped lead her New Albany High team to DI State Championships in 2020 and 2021 and a state runner-up team finish in 2023. DI is the largest classification in the state of Ohio. Individually, Purcell placed in the Top 10 at the state championships four consecutive seasons, finishing 10th in 2020, fourth in 2021, seventh in 2022 and eighth in 2023. She was named to the DI Second Team All-Ohio Team three seasons and earned First Team All-Ohio one year. Purcell’s New Albany Team won the Central District Team Championship all four years of her high school career. She also earned Co-Player of the Year honors for the Ohio Capital Conference (OCC) during her high school career, and she won the District Individual Championship as a senior. Purcell captured the individual championship at the 2022 Texas-Oklahoma Junior Invitational. She was a qualifier for the Optimist Junior International in both 2022 and ‘23, and she qualified for the Future Champions Golf (FCG) World Championship.

During her high school career, Purcell was not only a four-year letter winner in golf, but she was also a four-year letter winner in symphonic choir. She served as a student council member all four years of high school and participated in the Ohio Association of Student Leaders (OASL) Summer Leadership Workshop at The Ohio State University. Purcell was a three-year Girl Up member and participated in their fashion show to focus attention on Human Trafficking Awareness. She also served one year as a Life and Leadership Student-Athlete member. She volunteers with the New Albany Food Pantry and the Miracle League of New Albany, which is a baseball and golf buddy program. Purcell played for head golf coach Richard Ritter at New Albany High School.

She is the only child of Tricia and Jeremy Purcell. Her parents were both collegiate athletes at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Her mother was a golfer and her father was an outfielder on the baseball team. Purcell plans to study design, merchandising and textiles at UW. She was also recruited by South Dakota and Utah Tech.

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