In this edition, TKS Sports will get to know freshman Samantha Nichols, an up-and-coming star in Knox athletics. Named the MWC Performer of the Week after winning Monmouth College Invitational, Nichols is helping to resurrect the women’s Golf program at Knox with only one teammate.
The Knox Student: Where are you from?
Samantha Nichols: I’m from Waimea, Hawaii.
TKS: How has the transition from Hawaii to Galesburg gone?
SN: It’s been hard, but generally I really love it here. This place has a good feeling of home, and we’re not in a big city where it’s a big rush, which I really like. The people here are just so inviting and really good people to be around. It’s a good community.
TKS: There has not been a Women’s Golf team at
Knox in three years. How does it feel to be resurrecting the golf program alongside freshman Kailey Bruns?
SN: It’s actually really exciting for Knox as a whole because we get a chance to, in a sense, rebuild it. We get to be the ones to start it up, and it’s a really good feeling knowing we have the power to start something that will last.
TKS: What is the outlook for the season? How are you doing so far?
SN: Kailey’s improving, and we’re having a good time together. I placed
third at Augustana, and came in eighth at Greenville. I won Monmouth. That was cool, I was eighth after the first day and then I went up to first on the second day. And I also won Southeastern Iowa. So, I think it’s going pretty well, we’re both definitely improving.
TKS: Do you feel a lot of pressure, being one of two girls on the Golf team?
SN: [The other teams] are big. It kind of stinks in a way because we don’t have that big team experience that some other schools have, but at the same time, it’s kind of cool in a sense that we get to be really close. We get to grow together and next year when there’s more people, fingers crossed that there are, we’ll get more of that full team experience.
TKS: Are you recruiting for next year right now?
SN: Yeah, we are. Hopefully that’ll make it a lot better and we’ll be a lot closer to our goal of competing as a team.
TKS: How old were you when you started golfing? What inspired you to play golf over all other sports?
SN: I started golfing when I was 7 or 8. I was a little kid, and there were other girls that played it. I played other sports, like volleyball, soccer and basketball. None of them were really me in the sense that golf is something that’s more mentally challenging. This is the most mentally challenging game that I’ve ever played. No offense to other sports- they’re great, but this one in my opinion was the one that bothered me the most to suck at. If you’re having a bad day you can’t ask your team to cover you, this one’s all you.
TKS: Do you think that the Knox golf program going to expand and grow in the next few years?
SN: Yes, I do. Knox has a really high academic standard, so it’s hard to find an athlete that can perform at this level while also maintaining the grades needed. Our coach is really specific about the girls who he thinks can handle being on the golf team because he wants well-rounded athletes, which is obviously the best kind of person you could have. But it also makes a really good team to know there are people that have good intentions and understand where you’re coming from, they’re kind of similar to you in a way.
TKS: Do you have any golf wisdom you have learned over your many years playing?
SN: It’s really hard in a sense that you have to keep a strong mental mind. If you make a mistake, you can’t beat yourself up over it. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of dedication, just like mastering anything else in life.