It’s safe to say the Midwest Conference championship meet was an up-and-down experience for second-year women’s golf head coach Emily Cline.
Throughout the year, the Fire golfers had shown their coach progress, with scores improving from the beginning of the year. Immediately before the meet, Cline was sweating about whether or not she would even be able to field a team because of illness — a team that was already short-handed from the loss of its top two returners to study-abroad programs.
The Fire was able to put up a full slate for Conference, but finished in seventh place with 1453 strokes. Carroll University dominated the event with just 1105 strokes.
“I was pleased with the progress, especially considering the sickness and study abroad issues,” Cline said, “but we did not play well at conference, and I’m disappointed with that.”
Juniors Claire Anderson (369) and Lainey Badger (385), and freshman Monica Price (394) rounded out the scorers for the Fire, but freshman Mia Savard stole the show for the Prairie Fire, shooting a 305 for Knox in her first conference championship.
“She’s got some work to do,” Cline said, “but I think she has all of the potential in the world.”
Carroll’s Angelina Parrinello was the overall individual medalist, shooting a 260 over the three-day tournament. Savard finished 13 strokes off an all-conference bid; the cut line was a 292.
Although the conference meet marked a disappointing end to the season, Cline and the Fire see hope for the 2010 team.
“I’m looking to bring in three or four solid golfers to get some good in-squad competition going. I feel good about next year, assuming recruiting falls into place. When we get the two golfers [all-conference golfers Rachel Talpers and Jessica Demory] back, we should have a solid team.”
And assuming all goes well, Cline has no qualms about her high hopes already for next season’s team.
“We have a lot of work to do, but next year, we should finish in the top three [Midwest Conference teams].”