The Gustavus women’s golf team finished the spring season this past April with a 5th place showing at the Carleton Spring invitational.
Of the top 5 scorers for the Gusties in that meet, 3 have returned this season to prowl the greens. Sophomores Erin Erickson, Emily Kratz, and Sydney Regalado are the trio who will look to improve this year on their productive First-year campaigns.
Each of them averaged less than 83.2 strokes per round last year, and Kratz earned WGCA Midwest All-Region and All-Conference accolades.
The scoring quintuplet is rounded out by Senior Lanie Altmann and First-year Lauren Ward.
Though the team lost four seniors to graduation Head Coach Scott Moe does not believe that it will hold the team back.
“We have great leadership this year. Lanie and Erin will bring a lot of passion to the team. Lanie is our lone upperclassmen and will be a great role model for our players both on and off the course. Erin has a great work ethic that will be infectious within our team,” Moe said.
The skill demonstrated by the Gusties last year and the strong returning class earned Gustavus a pre-season national ranking of No. 23.
The Golden Gusties made the two hour trek up north to Sartell this past weekend for the Saint Benedict Invitational.
In this inaugural meet of the season, the Gusties were looking to begin building positive momentum and confidence for the conference tournament looming at the end of September.
Five Gusties placed in the top 50, garnering the team an overall score of 662 (+86) and a fifth-place tie out of eleven teams.
Erin Erickson lead the way with a great weekend, swinging her way to a third-place tie with a score of 77-78-155(+11). Emily Kratz tied for 15th at 79-85-164.
Sydney Regalado (89-83-172) and Lanie Altmann (94-83-177) had tough first days on the course, but both of them bounced back on the second day and improving scores by 6 and 11 strokes, respectively.
“Four out of the five of us had played Blackberry Ridges before, which was a huge benefit for us to be able to mentally prepare ourselves for our first tournament as much as we could,” Altmann said.
This familiarity with the course may have been tempered by the youth of the Gusties this year.
“We still have a very young team and are working through some anxieties during tournament play,” Moe said.
The first competition of any season is bound to feature a bit of rustiness as the muscle memory regains its hold and the nerves settle down, and this meet was no exception.
Putting and green play is one aspect of the game the Gusties will seek to improve.
“(Blackberry) is a tough course with tight greens,”Altmann said. “Practicing around the greens on our short game will be a huge factor in how we do in the future.”
This sentiment was echoed by Moe and has been identified to be a crucial component of the team’s game.
“We really need to focus our practice time this week on our short game. If we can tidy that up before next weekend’s event in Wartburg, I like our chances.”
The Gusties will compete in five events against nationally-ranked opponents leading up to the MIAC Championships in late September and early October, starting with the Wartburg Invite in Waverly, Iowa next Saturday and Sunday. They will be seeking their first MIAC title since 2010.
“We expect our team to show up every weekend and put forth our best effort every shot. If we do that consistently, I believe we will have some great results. We put ourselves in a position to face outstanding competition each and every event, so absolutely nothing will be handed to us, we need to earn everything we achieve.”
Next up on the challenging list of competitions this fall is the Wartburg Invitational which takes place Sept. 7-8 in Waverly, IA.