Luna Walker – Staff Writer
The Gustavus men’s and women’s golf teams should be on everyone’s radar this year as they are making waves in the MIAC after only competing for a short month. This fine group of young women and men are leading the charge in what could be the most impressive season of golf we’ve seen at Gustavus since the nineties.
From the Gustavus Men’s Golf team, Senior Jacob Pederson is a major player in making the stars align to enable this to be one of the most successful Gustavus men’s golf teams to date. Since the team’s inception in 1934, only five other Gustie men have had the honor of winning multiple MIAC individual championships, cementing Pedersons’ place in the upper echelon of Gustavus athletes.
“JD, who won the tournament for the second time, has always been a team leader who has stepped up at the most critical moments” Ben Forsberg said. Nothing shows the struggle for greatness quite like the empowering performance of Pederson on the final day of the tournament.
The Gustavus Women’s Golf team was also impressive this year. Senior Erin Ericson provided a thrilling outing for the Golden Gusties, delivering an individual runner up performance on the third day of the tournament, golfing four birdies and earning closing marks of 38-77-73-188 (+1). While these marks didn’t break any MIAC records, this is still the beginning of the season.
“The women continued their great play that they’ve had this fall during the final round of the MIAC championship,” Coach Randall Stuckey said. Hearing those words from the coach should let Gusties know that this is only the beginning for these talented women.
With all these records being set and career highs being met, it can be easy to forget about the next generation of elite golfers being brought up by these larger figures in the sport. Ben Forsberg, a Sophomore out of Chisago Lakes Senior High, is one of these next generation underclassmen.
“They’re great leaders. They practice a lot, work hard and know how to practice. They’re just on a different level than everyone else, so to play with people that are better than you makes you wanna work harder to get to their level.” Forsberg said.
“They’re great leaders . . . They’re just on a different level than everyone else.”
Forsberg really believes in this team and that can be seen through his willingness to learn and grow from these upperclassmen. The same can be said for the underclassmen on the women’s team, with players such as Sophomore Annika Reierson racking up experience and establishing a presence on the team early on.
It should be noted that the success of both the women’s and men’s teams doesn’t just happen overnight. The work for a student athlete happens outside of practice and Forsberg is no stranger to maxing out his effort on and off the course.
“The work for a student athlete happens outside of practice.”
“It mainly starts in the offseason over the summer, and in the winter over at our golf facility. Guys work hard outside of practice, working on their own with swing instructors and other coaches, and they play tournaments in the summer, and the experience comes just by playing a lot of tournament golf.” Forsberg said. The same level of effort can be seen from the women. Both teams have fought for the right to be in the spotlight this season.
This season is far from over and the momentum we’ve seen from these two powerhouse squads is exciting. These two teams aren’t slowing down for anyone. Gusties should be proud to cheer them on, as well as look forward to hearing about the performance from both the men and women Oct 17-19 at the Golfweek Invitational in Destin, Florida. Although supporters won’t be able to attend the tournament in person down in Florida, we’ll all be cheering Gustavus Golf from back home.