Concordia’s freshmen are shaking up MIAC golf.
The women’s golf team has finished up a very strong 2011 season; finishing fourth out of eleven schools competing in the MIAC conference championship. They finished in the top half of all of their tournaments this year, including a first place at the Cougar Invite in Morris, Minn. When the competition became steeper against Division II schools such as St. Cloud State, Minot State, and Sioux Falls, they took seventh of sixteen, proving that big state schools with athletic scholarships can be beaten.
One of the most storied sports on campus, according to the women’s golf athletic website, they “won more league championships than any other team in the MIAC, winning the first five team titles and 11 of the first 12 championships, eleven MIAC championships since it was sanctioned by the league” in 1989. They are bound for success once again.
Concordia’s 2011 women’s golf team has only one returning player, a sophomore, and seven freshmen. Coach Duane Siverson said that everyone is really surprised at how well these freshmen are doing, estimating a fifty stroke improvement from last year’s team scores.
“This team is really willing to make sacrifices and is committed to getting better,” he said. Siverson continues with saying that we are the only team in the MIAC to have mostly freshmen, and by being successful at tournaments this year, he is really excited about their potential.
Their success this year was not unforeseen. According to last year’s final Minnesota Golf Coaches Association High School Golf Ratings, three of our golfers (Amy Mireault, Holly Karkela, and Kristi Opatz) finished in the top ten of individual players in their divisions. Yet all these golfers had success on the high school level. Siverson had to do a lot of recruiting this past year to piece together such a strong team. He made it a priority to keep in touch via email with his recruits and even attended some of their high school tournaments to scout and to encourage them to come to Concordia.
Sophomore golfer Emily Frosaker said that the team’s success this year is “kind of unheard of.” She remembers last year’s team being uncompetitive and having different priorities than golf.
“We are super excited for how well we did this year and what we might do in the future,” Frosaker said. The team is also “bummed the season is ending.” Frosaker describes how this team has a really positive attitude and are all really close, which helps drive competition by pushing each other.
Being competitive and having a strong season has really changed the dynamic of the team, yet Siverson knows their potential is higher than that. He said that goal for this team is to get to nationals in the spring, which can be done by winning the MIAC championship and beating the dominate Gustavus and St. Olaf, or finishing with a really low team score to earn an at-large bid. Siverson knows what it takes to win, being the coach for all eleven of the team’s Championships. However, the drought has been a long one with the last win coming in 2000.
Concordia can be very excited for what these young golfers have done this season and where the future might lead them. They are Cobber Pride.
Michael is a Sports Writer for the 2011-2012 season of The Concordian.