Twin golfers take final drive

Twin golfers take final drive

By Tyler Dixon


Many athletes don’t get the opportunity to be on a team with their best friend or sibling throughout high school and college. The Rushing twins have gotten the chance to do both.

Ashleigh and Cassie Rushing are seniors at SIU and have been on the same golf team since their days at Marion High School.


Cassie Rushing, a sports administration major, has won many accolades during her time as a Saluki. She is a three-time Missouri Valley Conference All- Conference selection as well as a First-Team Scholar- Athlete selection her junior year. This past summer, she was named a Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar.

Ashleigh Rushing, an elementary education major, still holds the 9-hole record at Marion High School with a score of 30. She also led the Salukis in three tournaments during the 2012-2013 season and shot 15 rounds in the 70s.

Mary Thomason, the twins’ coach at Marion High School, said she loved the girls from the beginning.

“They’re all around great girls,” Thomason said. “As far as their skills, they only got better.”

The twins were born at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Doctors thought they were conjoined because they were in the same amniotic sac. Ashleigh Rushing jokes that she and her sister were close from the very beginning. Their two younger siblings, Mitchell and Haley, 16, are also twins.

The girls started playing golf when they were seven years old with their parents, the twins said.

“Growing up, it was kind of a family thing,” Cassie Rushing said. “I honestly don’t really know why I got interested in golf. I wanted to go spend time with (our parents) when I was like six . . . and I just fell in love with it.”


The sisters’ parents, Darron and Carol Rushing, are successful golfers in their own right. Darron Rushing was the player of the year in 2011 at Lake of Egypt Country Club. Their father also won the Men’s Club Match Play Championship in 2002 and 2003.

Since 2006, one of the Lake of Egypt women’s golf tournaments has belonged to the Rushing family. Ashleigh Rushing won in 2006 and 2007, Carol Rushing took home the honor in 2008 and Cassie Rushing has won it every year since.

“It’s a bittersweet thing, because we’ve enjoyed it so much,” Carol Rushing said. “It definitely is a blessing to be able to still be a part of watching them play golf and watching them mature.”

They decided SIU was the best fit after considering Louisville and Indiana State. Family was a word that resonated with the sisters when describing why they came to SIU.

“For me personally, I wanted to be closer to home,” Ashleigh Rushing said. “I’m a big family person.”

Ashleigh Rushing said despite getting offers from other schools, she knew it would work out if they were meant to be together.

“I think because we both prayed about it a lot and we’re like, if we were meant to be separated, then it’s the way it was supposed to be,” Ashleigh Rushing said.

Being from Marion, most of the twins’ family is close by. Cassie Rushing said it’s still nice being close to their grandparents.

“When we told my grandma, she cried because she was so happy,” Cassie Rushing said. “She didn’t express it to us that she didn’t want us to go away, but she was so happy that we were going to stay here for another four years.”

Former women’s golf head coach Diane Daugherty recruited the girls to SIU, but left after their freshman year. Alexis Mihelich was named the new head coach in August of 2011.

“It shocked me, I guess. I figured (Daughterty) would retire before I graduated but I didn’t figure it would be after one year,” Ashleigh Rushing said. “I definitely cried after she told us. We were all crying.”

“They’ve always worked hard,” Mihelich said. “They’re already named co-captains; hopefully they can shape and mold the younger players.”

Neither of the sisters had the words to describe their feelings going into their senior season.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Cassie Rushing said. “It still feels like I should be in orientation.”

Cassie Rushing is getting married next year to Tom Brooke. Brooke works at Hickory Ridge Golf Course, the Saluki women’s home course. Cassie Rushing said if she moves away, she’ll miss her practice partner but she’ll still be able to play golf with her fiancé. She added that she is able to beat him in golf.

After graduating from SIU Cassie Rushing hopes to continue playing golf at a competitive level, while Ashleigh hopes to become a kindergarten teacher.