Both the men’s and women’s golf teams have hit the ground running this season. After arriving early on campus for preseason practice, the men’s team started off their competitive season in a dual meet against St. Thomas while the women’s team headed to Wisconsin to compete in the Eau Claire Invitational. The men’s team fell to their conference rival, but the women had more luck, placing third out of 14 teams.
“The [men’s] team is looking pretty good so far. We lost in our first dual meet with St. Thomas, but overall I like where our team is at going into the season,” Senior Tyler McMorrow said.
The women’s team is young, with no seniors on the roster, but the team is confident in the potential and energy the underclassmen provide.
“The women’s team is looking great so far. There is a lot of potential throughout the girls on the team. We are very excited about our two freshmen on the team as well because they are already showing their hard work, determination, and love for the game while playing as Gusties,” Junior Sam Falk said.
The men’s team has six seniors this year, but after graduating some of their star golfers last year, the team is looking for new faces to step up and compete in the top five.
“I think one of the biggest challenges this year will be bringing new and younger guys into the lineup who have not really played before. I am confident in their ability, it just may take some time for them to adjust to playing in our top five. After losing three seniors last year, this is the biggest adjustment going into this season,” McMorrow said.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding who will golf in the men’s top five, the team is confident that they are ready to compete and that their strong senior leadership will guide the team towards accomplishing its goals.
After winning the conference title last year and placing seventh at Nationals, the men’s team’s goal is to improve upon last year’s finish. The MIAC championships are held during the fall season, and if the team does well there, they will earn a bid at the national tournament, which is held during the spring season.
“Our main goal this season, as always, is to win Nationals this spring. But to do that we have to play well this fall and first win our conference tournament,” Senior Andrew Oakes said.
The women’s team also has its sights set on the national tournament.
“Our goal is to remain positive and supportive of each other as we take on the conference and earn our spot at the national tournament,” Junior Jordan Drenttel said.
In addition to the goals the women have set regarding their performance on the golf course, the team has also set goals for their academic performance.
Both teams have been working on perfecting the different aspects of their game during the offseason. Once on campus for preseason practice, the golfers completed team qualifying rounds where they had a chance to see how the teams will stack up this fall. The team completed these qualifying rounds during the heat wave, but the team believes this will make them stronger for the fall season. Focusing on their short game, in order to not lose as many shots as other teams might, is another priority during practice time.
“To prepare, the team worked hard over the summer and competed in tournaments to get us in the groove for the preseason and the rest of the fall,” Junior Liz Strom said.
Despite having a young team with no seniors, the women feel that their team chemistry is strong.
“Our team connects really well, which makes practices and tournaments more enjoyable. I am excited to be able to spend my weekends with my teammates playing at different tournaments against great competition,” Sophomore Chloe Altmann said.
The men’s team also points to their strong team chemistry as a key factor in their ability to accomplish their goals this season. During the preseason qualifying rounds the men competed against each other for slots within the top five, but McMorrow said this had no negative impact on the team’s chemistry, and the team remains supportive of each other. Oakes pointed to the upperclassmen’s leadership of the men’s team as a key factor in its strong chemistry.
“We have really good senior leadership and an abundance of talent. We have such an awesome group of guys on the team and the team chemistry is fantastic. We all have a blast every time we are playing or at practice,” Oakes said.