The injury bug bit the Augustana women’s golf team early in the fall season, and left head coach Peggy Kirby wondering who would lead the team.
After four different Vikings won Northern Sun Conference Player of the Week awards and the team finished the fall schedule with three tournament wins—including the Super Region 3 Fall Preview Oct. 3-4, she caught a glimpse of what could be something special in the spring.
“We had just a bit of this and that [for injuries] as our season started off,” said Kirby, who had a player miss time with a foot injury and two others miss time with illnesses. “We tried to figure out who was going to lead the team, but now everyone’s kind of figured out how we are supposed to compete, and everyone’s ready to play.”
Unfortunately for Kirby, her team now faces a five-month layoff before kicking off the spring season March 16.
The Vikings won their final three tournaments by a combined 47 strokes, several of those wins coming against schools they’ll face at the conference and super regional tournaments in the spring.
Winning NSIC Player of the Week honors were juniors Kali Trautman (Sept. 8), and Emily Israelson (Sept. 14), senior Jordan Bormann (Oct. 5) and freshman Hannah Hankinson (Wednesday).
Kirby was pleased with the fall season as a whole but says every player will need to be on the top of her game to defend Augustana’s NSIC and Super Region 3 titles.
“We have a very strong team, a very deep team,” Kirby said. “We’ll just have to wait and see [what happens in the spring].”
Her players like where the team stands at the break.
“I think we are in a good place going into the spring,” Bormann said. “We put in a lot of practice and had a better showing in the later part of the fall season, which I think gives us good momentum going forward into the winter and then the spring season.”
Trautman said teams’ fall performances are factored into regional and national rankings in the spring. The fall isn’t meant to be a time to tweak things and see where a team stands — it’s just as competitive as the spring.
Players make technical adjustments in the winter, Bormann said. Kirby wants the team to improve on hitting greens during its time off.
“Putting themselves in better spots off the tee so that they can hit greens,” she said. “We always kind of fight that a little bit. We’ve worked a lot on putting and chipping and that’s really improved, but we’ve got to work on our iron play.”
As the Vikings look ahead toward postseason play in the spring, their goals are clear.
“I think our team knows what we can do and the level we should be playing at,” Trautman said, alluding to hopes of a seventh-consecutive NSIC title and third-straight super regional championship. “We will always be striving to reach that point.”
Men end fall season with four top-six showings
The men’s team concluded its fall season on Tuesday as it tied for 12th at the Missouri Western Invitational.
It was the first time all fall the Vikings finished outside the top six. Their best finish was a third-place tie to open the season.
Juniors Parker Klitzke and Ted Urch, as well as freshman Brady Arzdorf, led the Vikings this fall.
Klitzke’s best tournaments came at the beginning of the season as he shot a three-over-par at both the Battle of the Falls and the Bemidji State Invitational.
Urch’s best showing was a five-over effort at the Watkins Invitational, while Arzdorf put up a nine-over at Bemidji, his first competition of his career.
Augustana returns to action March 13-14 at the Ichabod Invitational in Topeka, Kan.