Jack Wiessenberger – Staff Writer
As the spring golf season nears its end, the Gusties are hoping to walk away with two Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) titles. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams are set to compete this weekend in the conference championship at Emerald Greens Golf Course in Hastings. The unusual season has brought out the best in the program, and they are hoping to reach their peak at the right time.
“Overall our team has fared quite well. We have finished each tournament in the top portion of the leaderboard and have performed very well at the times that we needed to play well. If our team had a bad round we would bounce back the next day and find a way to perform better. I had a great time this spring season with the team. We were out on the course everyday and enjoyed the grind that is spring golf,” Sophomore Jack Holtan said.
The men’s team had their first competition of the season earlier this month when they traveled to Illinois for the Wesleyan Invitational. Last weekend, the men wrapped up their regular season at the St. John’s Invitational where they finished fourth out of seventeen teams. The women’s team also began their season well when they opened with a win over Minnesota State Mankato. They continued their strong performances through last weekend when they placed third out of ten teams at the Carleton Invitational.
“We have placed in the top three in all of our tournaments, and won our tournament down in Iowa. We have a really skilled group of girls who understand the game well. We have spent a lot of time focusing on the mental side of golf, staying present, and moving forward which has helped us immensely,” Junior Emily Kratz said.
Both teams began spring competition on a high note and have continued to perform over the course of the season. The solid results have come as a result of the dedication of each golfer, as well as the steadfast leadership of Head Coach Scott Moe.
“The coaches have been instrumental in our success this season. They have set high, but achievable goals for us to aim for. They have been so helpful on the course, helping us make the best and smartest decisions in our shot choices. They are so supportive and put in so much work to make sure they are doing everything they can to help us succeed on and off of the course. They expect that we will continue to work hard to make sure our games are in the best shape possible for conference this weekend,” Kratz said.
Coach Moe has done an outstanding job of keeping the teams focused on their big goals, without overlooking the small details. The unique challenges presented to the team this year due to COVID-19 have made it even more important to have strong leaders. Thankfully for the golf team, leadership skills run deep.
“Our upperclassmen have done a great job of leading the way for us underclassmen by leading by example and being there for us to lend a hand if we need help with anything or have questions about anything. Our team culture has been great this year. Both years that I have been on the golf team we have had very good chemistry,” Holtan said.
Despite the additional obstacles provided by the pandemic, the Gusties have been able to come together and build a supportive team culture. Heading into the MIAC Championship this weekend, the teams will look to stay true to who they are and perform at their highest level.
“Our goal with both programs is to peak at the right time and that is during our MIAC Championship. We are very young on our men’s team and I think they are starting to understand their game more and ready to put a good game plan together for this weekend. Our team goal always remains the same, we want to come away with two titles. Our women’s team is led by our three juniors who will be competing in their third MIAC Championship and are playing solid golf right now,” Moe said.
Both teams are going into this weekend knowing they are capable of claiming the conference title. The Gusties have stayed near the top of the podium all throughout the season and hoping to make the final push at Emerald Greens.
“With the MIAC coming up this weekend, our whole team is eager to get out there and compete. We are not a team that is going to shy away from adversity so we are ready to get out on the course this weekend and compete until the last putt drops on Sunday. To win a MIAC Championship would be a huge honor for our team and would punch our ticket to nationals this year. That is the goal we have been working towards all spring and we are more than capable of achieving it,” Holtan said.