The No. 8 nationally ranked University of Indianapolis womens golf team kicked off its spring season by participating in the St. Edwards Invitational in Austin, Texas on Feb. 23-24. The team placed first out of the 12 teams present with a score of 606. Junior Brooke Beegle had the low score for the Greyhounds with 147.
Head Mens and Womens Golf Coach Brent Nicoson said that he was pleased with the results and how the womens team performed.
It felt good to get started off on the right track, he said. For us to go down and not to play a practice round, it felt good to get off to a good start.
Nicoson said that he was particularly happy with the way the team adapted to the less-than-ideal circumstances they faced.
They [the women] were thrown into a tough situation [with the invitational], canceling the practice round and putting us right into the first round, he said. Coming out the winner, I have to be very pleased with Molly Ward, who led us in Texas. Overall I was very happy.
The winter weather in Indiana has presented the golfers with problems recently in their preparation, keeping them from being able to practice outdoors. Freshman Paxton DeHaven of the womens team said she has adjusted her training to work with the situation.
Im just trying to work on my swing right now, she said. Once I get outside, Ill start working on my short game.
For the mens team, the season does not start for a few more weeks. Senior Tucker Guisewite said the men also have worked to adjust to not being able to practice outside in preparation for the spring season.
We havent been outside much, he said. Its not the same feel [as outdoor practices]. You can work on your short game, but you just have to feel where the ball is going. It still keeps your swing loose, but once you get outside, its a whole different game. Itll be a challenge going into the first tournament, but I think we will be all right.
Guisewite said that being on a break since the fall has presented challenges for the mens team in preparing for the spring season.
It was nice to have a break, but you also dont have much competition throughout the winter, and you kind of lose that feeling, she said. Starting up in the spring, youre going to be rusty. But we have so much experience from the fall [that] we will be all right.
With the mens team winning back-to-back Great Lakes Valley Conference championships in the past two seasons championships and the womens team winning three in a row themselves, Guisewite said the pressure is on to defend their titles.
Nicoson said that he and both the mens and womens teams have championship expectations for this year.
On both sides, defending the conference championship is a goal, he said. The guys are coming off two straight, and the girls are coming off three straight, so we have a chance to do some really great things in the program. For the senior girls, they have a chance to win four straight conference championships and win four straight NCAA East Regional Tournaments. That is definitely a goal of ours.
Nicoson said that he enjoys the challenge of maintaining championship-quality teams and that the feeling is mutual with his players.
It [winning expectation] drives us. Both programs have targets on their backs. The girls and the guys both seem to thrive on it, Nicoson said. I love it as a coach. I love being the one that everyone is trying to hunt down. It feels that much better when they cant do it.
The men will begin their spring season at The Battle at the Beach in Murrells Inlet, S.C. March 13-14, and the women see action next, that same weekend, at the Southwestern Minnesota State University Spring Invitational in Buckeye, Ariz March 12-13. Both events for the Greyhounds will begin at times yet to be determined.