Women’s golf prepares for spring season

As the women’s golf  team begins the spring season, tournaments are kicking off around the country, taking the team to states like Kentucky and Texas. The team is preparing themselves for upcoming tournaments, according to Head Men and Women’s Golf Coach Brent Nicoson.

Senior Katharine Keilich is one of three members from the women’s golf team who has become a finalist for the 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup Team. Photo Contributed by Ryan Thorpe

“We expect good play all the time, but to end the fall season ranked number one in the country, after losing three All-Americans, is pretty solid,” Nicoson said. “I just want them to keep getting better. We want to be playing our best golf by the end of April, when conference and post season comes around.”

Senior Kennedy Holtsclaw said that the team works hard to play to the best of their ability. According to Holtsclaw, the women’s golf team is successful because every member of the team works equally as hard for a common goal.

“Our team has a great work ethic. All seven of us on the team work extremely hard to be the best that we can be. I think that is very unique and hard to find,” Holtsclaw said. “In addition, there is just a winning culture that has been created over the years. Every sports team hates losing, but I feel like we hate it more than the average team. We go into tournaments knowing we have to play our best because we have strong competition, but we all know we have the capability of winning. If we play to our best ability we will win, and that is our expectation.”

According to Nicoson, the team tries to make sure that they are practicing outside as often as possible. However, the preparation process for upcoming tournaments is more difficult in the spring season than in the fall, due to the higher temperatures, Nicoson said.

“We have been working very hard in preparation,” Holtsclaw said. “The cold weather has made this a bit of a battle. We have not been able to hit off grass much. Instead, we have been hitting off mats at ranges that have heaters. We are using our resources the best we can and hopefully this hard work will pay off.”

Holtsclaw said that while this season’s schedule is going to be difficult, it will be good for the team, and they will be taking the season one step at a time.

“We have some very strong competition right out of the gate for our spring season and it doesn’t let up any after that. Our schedule is tough, but I think it will be good for us,” Holtsclaw said. “Obviously, in the end of the season, we hope to again win conference, regionals and nationals. That’s always our end goal, but we are going to take it one step at a time.”

Reading the green before putting, senior Kennedy Holtsclaw gets ready to putt. Holtsclaw has been awarded twice for the GLVC Player of the Week. Photo Contributed by Ryan Thorpe

While the team, as a whole, is preparing for their group tournaments, three of the athletes are also preparing themselves for the Arnold Palmer Tournament this summer, in which they are finalists for.

Senior Katharina Keilich, junior Pilar Echeverria and Holtsclaw are preparing for the upcoming season, which, depending on the outcome, will effect their possible participation in the Arnold Palmer Tournament this June, according to Holtsclaw.

“Right now, I am just focusing on preparing for the season and our upcoming tournaments,” Holtsclaw said. “Our first tournament results could be a factor in the decision-making process for the [Arnold] Palmer Cup, I am trying not to focus on that though. If I do get selected, our season will prepare me, and then I will have to continue practicing in the summer until it is played in June.”

Nicoson said that he is proud of the three girls for becoming finalists for this tournament. According to Nicoson,  its’ not often that athletes from the same team are chosen as finalists for the Palmer Cup.

“There’s not a lot of schools out there that even have one candidate, let alone three, two on the international side and one on the USA side,” Nicoson said. “So, I’m very proud of all three of them. It’s a great representation of what our program is and how hard they work. As a coach, to have one candidate on there is a very big thing for the program, but for us to have three, I think it’s just a testament to what our program is right now.”