A rare family find in college sports

It's not often college fans will see three siblings playing at the collegiate level, let alone four.

Freshman Rachel Newren has joined her older sisters, Nicole and Natalie, as a starter on the BYU women's golf team in her first collegiate season. Older brother, Stephen, continues to drive hard for the University of Utah as a sophomore starter on the men's golf team.

"It's rare to find four siblings all talented enough to play at the Division I level," said Sue Nyhus, head coach of BYU women's golf.

Since the age of five, the four have been playing golf together for over 15 years, all coached by their father, Brent Newren. As Mr. and Mrs. Newren raised their children, they urged them to live the words of President Spencer W. Kimball, "encourage folks to be really good at something."

"We allowed them to participate in all sports, but wanted them to be challenged at something that only they could predict the outcome of," Mr. Newren said.

"It's a measure about how well you perform and no one else."

Mr. Newren would have liked to see all his kids play at BYU, but said Stephen felt more commitment from Utah.

"We all have to make our own decisions, and Stephen is doing very well," Mr.

Newren said. "He's doing the normal things he would do anyway, and it adds diversity to our family history of golfing."

Stephen said he has been happy with his decision.

"The U is more laid back, and that's more my style," he said.

Over the years, the Newren siblings have developed a dedicated passion for golf, as well as some friendly competition. Even as the youngest, Rachel enjoys the competition with her older sisters and brother.

"I feel like I have to reach a certain level to prove myself to them," Rachel said. "If I am striving to beat a sibling, it will help me do better against everyone else. With siblings, there is a separate drive than with the other teammates."

Natalie also enjoy the competition.

"The competition is healthy," she said. "It's turned into a real positive thing. Like a friendship, we have to pull for each other."

The Newrens have competed in many tournaments together, including one this summer that Rachel nearly beat her brother in.

"I like to see my sisters do well, just as long as I win," Stephen said. "I get nervous for them and wish I could go in and swing for them sometimes."

The competition between the siblings has developed into an advantage as they have gained an extensive knowledge of each other's game that has become beneficial to their improvement.

"I know their swings so well that I can help because I also know how they learn best," junior Natalie Newren said. "We are all very encouraging."

Nicole will graduate in April, and her sisters plan to follow in her footsteps before pursuing a professional career. To youngest sister Rachel, forfeiting a college education to play professional golf has never been an issue.

"It's not an option in my book. I would have nothing to fall back on if I was injured and couldn't play anymore," Rachel said.

The siblings, like many other student athletes, are working hard to balance school and sports.

"I didn't realize how difficult it would be to balance it all, but it's gotten easier with time," Nicole said. "It helps me appreciate what we have here."

Rachel is also learning as a freshman to balance her time.

"It's a lot tougher than I thought it would be," she said. "It's a whole new world, but I think I'll balance. It's all about time management."

Despite their tight schedules at school, the Newrens look forward to the rest of the fall season, finishing out at the Kent Youel Invitational in Hawi`i and the Las Vegas Founders, hosted by UNLV.

The BYU women's golf starters include the Newren sisters, junior Margaret Gibby and freshman Alexis Edwards, who combined to place third out of 20 teams (893) at the Lady Aztec Invitational in San Diego.