Sports / The Prairie Fire / October 10, 2008

As women’s golf come to a close, a few bright embers light the way

As the fairways and greens of Soangetaha Country Club go quiet once again, another season of golf has come to an end for the Knox College women’s golf team. In a rebuilding phase, the Fire nonetheless show promise and hope for the future, with several glimmers of skill across the board.

“We did as well as we could,” said coach Emily Cline. “We improved a lot over the season, and I’m happy with the progress we made.”

This is Cline’s first year as head coach of the golf team, something that has been a bit of a challenge as her main focus is basketball. Still, the team has shown growth in many areas under her short tenure and as far as she is concerned, they are not done yet. The season closed with the Midwest Conference Championships held at the Grinnell Golf and Country Club, a par 72 course, and home to the Grinnell Pioneer golf teams. Knox put up a couple of respectable individual showings, while placing sixth as a team, ahead of the Green Knights of St. Norbert College. Sophomore Rachel Talpers placed third overall for the tournament, despite a performance that fell short of her own expectations. Sophomore Jessica Demory placed seventh and freshman Brittney Ostlie shot a straight 300, her best score of the year. “After the second day, I wanted to do a lot better,” said Talpers, who shot an 88 and 82 on days one and two, “but I actually did a lot worse.”

She finished the third day with a 92, and was only two strokes behind the second place finisher and seven behind first place. Results such as these from an underclassman have Cline excited for the future. “Rachel is so easy to coach. She works very hard at golf, she will keep improving,” said Cline. “Everyone’s score has gone down (from the beginning of the season).

Sophomore Lainey Badger’s score dropped 27 strokes, from 142 to 115. So did Brittney’s. Both of them are first year college golfers, and they get better with experience.”

Just as it is these women’s first time as collegiate golfers, it is Cline’s first shot as a golf coach. The team, though, is optimistic about her as a coach as well. “She shows a lot of enthusiasm,” said Talpers. “She learns as she coaches, and is a huge part of the team’s success. She does a really good job.” The team continues to become a cohesive unit and despite the fact that they lost half their players to graduation last year and had to find an extra player to meet the requirement of five for the conference tournament, the team looks to the future, especially with all the talent that lies within it now. “It’s possible for us to get better,” pointed out Cline. “If we just get a few more women on the team, we could compete for a top spot in the conference.” Talpers spoke in the same vein as her coach, seeing the potential the team has.

“We just need to keep improving every year,” said Talpers. “We do have one girl coming back in the spring, and we’ll be able to compete more.” The women of the golf team see the horizon and it shines with hope and potential glory. Led by a coach who does not know the meaning of the word fail, the sky is the limit for this young squad.

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