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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s golf prepares to defend MWC crown

John Brady
Lauren Yi ’18 putts at last weekend’s Grinnell Invitational. Photo by John Brady.

The women’s golf team wrapped up Grinnell Invitational, the season’s final meet, with a strong finish, placing third out of five teams last weekend at Grinnell Country Club. Up next for the team is the Midwest Conference (MWC) Championships this weekend in Rockford, Ill. After claiming the MWC title for the first time in school history last year, the Pioneers are looking forward to defending that crown this time around.

This past invitational had a high significance, as it was the only home meet of the season and offered a good idea of where the players stood among Conference opponents. Thus, the players were determined to put in extra preparation for training.

“I went to a lot of team practices and we played the course a lot the previous week,” said Kayleigh Kresse ’15. “We’d work on putting and chipping … and also during the week, I practiced by myself, so earlier in the day I would go out to the range and hit more balls and work on my swing and I think those extra practice sessions really helped.”

Lauren Yi ’18 putts at last weekend’s Grinnell Invitational. Photo by John Brady.
Lauren Yi ’18 putts at last weekend’s Grinnell Invitational. Photo by John Brady.

The daily practices certainly ended up proving their worth. And while the team finished with a satisfying score, the scorecard failed to recognize the team’s excellent performance among MWC opponents.

“There were five teams and we came in third,” Kresse said. “But the two teams that shot lower team totals than us are not in our Conference. But the two teams that are in our Conference shot higher team scores than us, so we were pretty pleased with that.”

Along with how the players executed last weekend, the addition of two first-year golfers, Lauren Yi ’18 and Sam Hengst ’18, has sparked the team’s spirit as it prepares to repeat last year.

“This year, we’re definitely ahead of where we were last year,” said Hailey Speck ’15. “We’re fortunate to have two first-years come in this year, so just having extra people on the team is an advantage. And the amount of focus we’ve been able to put on our game is also an advantage from where we were at this point.”

Although the team added two talented players to the squad this season, the Pioneers were close to losing a key component to their success as Alex Plemmons ’15 suffered a back injury earlier this year.

“It has been tough missing the majority of the season,” wrote Plemmons in an email to The S&B. “But I’m excited to play at Conference, and I hope to contribute to the overall team score.”

Plemmons has only played once this season, but her return will play an integral part of the team’s campaign this weekend. She led last year’s winning team by placing sixth overall in the Conference Championships.

Despite the complications, the team is confident it will repeat its achievement in defending its title as Midwest Conference champions and receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III National Championships next May.

“[Winning the Conference last year] was just a really amazing experience and amazing feeling, so it would be great if we could do that again, especially because it’s attainable,” Kresse said. “We can see it and we can imagine and it’s there. We just have to put the work [in] and concentrate and hopefully we’ll be able to win again.”

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