National competition within reach for women golfers

Sylvie Luiten

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We rarely see them in action: the women’s golf team is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated sports teams on campus. Last fall while at the Fall Classic, the team took fourth place  and continued its success by winning the Spring Classic. The women then placed second at the Northwest Conference (NWC) Tourney, narrowly missing a berth to nationals.

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“Our ladies have done a great job of attracting quality players to join our program, even though it makes the competition for ‘playing time’ more challenging. The bottom line is that our recruiting greatly enhances our chances of a NWC championship and trip to the [National Collegiate Athletic Association’s tournament],” said Coach Skip Molitor.

Elaine Whaley, a sophomore captain, explained how the season works.

“We have one tournament that counts in the fall and two in the spring. Last year we won the spring classic but were beat by George Fox in the second spring tournament; otherwise we would have gone to nationals.”

Golf is an  individual sport, so teammates are driven to compete against each other. However, the bottom line for the team is support.

“Last year we got to the point of wanting our teammates to do well. Competing against each other isn’t a problem anymore,” said Whaley.

Two new freshmen have brought more talent onto the green this year. “Kelly Sweeny and Sarah Debs are capable of leading our team on any given weekend,” said Molitor of the newcomers.

Much is expected from the returnees as well after having had such a successful season last year. Individually, each of the women is expected to make improvements in her game this year.

“Katie Zajicek won the spring classic last year and would love to string together several years with one of the ‘NWC major’ in her trophy case.   Catelyn Webber was second in our scoring average last year and is looking even stronger this year,” said Molitor.

After last year’s successes, the goals for the team this year are clear.

“Our goals are always to have a great time as a team . . . play to the best of our ability . . . and do everything in our power to win the conference and compete well at the national tournament,” said Molitor.

“We really want to beat [2011 Conference champions] George Fox and of course continue to be a really close-knit team,” said Whaley.

The team has one home tournament this year, to be held at Wine Valley in Veteren’s Memorial Golf Club and Wine Valley Golf Club on Oct. 1-2. Whitties will have this one chance to see the talented golfers in action.

“We would really like to get a bus and see the school’s support that weekend,” said Whaley.

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