On April 19, 2010, the Washburn Ichabods golf team enters the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Even though the Washburn golfers have not always played to their satisfaction this season, they still remain optimistic about the championship tournament.
“Upcoming we have our MIAA championship in Kansas City at Tiffany Greens, three round event, and we’ll be looking to win it as we did last year,” said senior golfer Nate Sargent. “Hopefully, that would propel us into the top ten of the regional rankings.
“It would be big to get a win over Central Missouri, because we haven’t beat them at all this year, and they’ve been nationally ranked in the top 20 all year long. That’ll be our main concern, beating them, because if we beat them, that’ll help out our regional ranking because they’ve been one to three spot all year long. So if we have any desire to have a chance to go to nationals this year, we’ll be needing to beat them next week at our conference championship.”
Sargent is not the only golfer on the team who believes that they need to keep their eyes on Central Missouri.
“Central Missouri is probably the top competition right now in our conference” said junior Miles Christensen. “We have to beat them, like Nate said, to have a chance at regionals. Missouri Southern, I think right now we’re tied with them in the conference.
“Our next tournaments are going to be big for us if we want to do anything as far as regionals standings, and then, hopefully, move on to the national tournament and play well in that.”
Even with below-standard finishes at previous tournaments this spring, the golfers remain confident in their work ethic and hope that it produces better results.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work all year, it just hasn’t translated into scores we’ve wanted,” said Sargent. “It’s been disappointing, but hopefully, we continue to do what we do, the hard work will pay off and we’ll get into the post-season.”
Throughout the season, the team has experimented with how to produce the best results and the test continues in Kansas City.
“We’ve been qualifying lately a lot, trying to find a solid five guys, and we’ve been switching out the five spot, trying to figure which guys are going to give our team the best chance at playing well,” said Christensen. “We’re really trying to find that fifth guy right now who’s going to play solid for us.”
Even with a change in scenery, coach Doug Hamilton remains confident and faithful in his team to do their best.
“The MIAA tournament’s being held at Tiffany Greens Golf Club this year,” said Hamilton. “That’s a new venue. Last year it was played at Shoal Creek. Tiffany Greens is not as difficult of a golf course, so I think it’s going to bring more of the field into play.
“Conference tournaments are going to be important, not just from the aspect of our success from within the conference, but it’s going to have a great deal of importance on our bid to make it to the regional tournament. So we’re going to have to be successful. We really need our seniors to step up and give us some leadership these next two weeks, but at the conference championship tournament, especially.
Hamilton said it’s always nice to get a feather in your hat by winning the conference tournament. Last season, Washburn won the conference tournament, although they didn’t win the regular season.
“So we’re looking forward to a good week. I think Tiffany Greens will be an interesting venue. I think it’s going to require a lot of birdies to win that tournament, so we need to take advantage of the par-fives and hopefully, we can get our putters going.”