by Brendan Wade
The University of Central Missouri men’s golf team is looking to win a second straight MIAA championship. A year ago, the team captured the crown finishing three strokes over par, 13 strokes ahead of second-place Northeastern State. This year, the Mules hope to have similar success at the MIAA championships.
Mules golf head-coach Tim Poe believes the team is peaking at the right moment.
“We’re playing the best we have all year,” Poe said. “I definitely think we can make a statement if we keep it up.”
The Mules certainly aren’t lacking talent. The team is comprised of veteran players and rising stars. Senior Sam Migdal has been named to the all-MIAA team twice in his career dating back to his sophomore year. Junior Teddy Jones was the Mules second scorer at the NCAA-II championship a year ago. Upperclassmen aren’t the only players making an impact. The team also has young players like Alex Springer, who gained valuable experience a year ago at the NCAA Championships, contributing as a freshman.
Poe points to his top five as the reason for the team’s successes this year.
“All five of our guys have really contributed to our success this year,” Poe said.
Despite having plenty of talented individual players, the Mules are dead-set on a team-first mantra when it comes to the MIAA championship.
“Our primary goal is team first,” Poe said. “We want to win the tournament first and worry about individuals later.”
The Mules have been one of the most successful teams in the conference in recent years. The team has claimed five of the last six MIAA regular season crowns and four of the last five tournament championships in previous seasons. If the Mules are going to continue being a MIAA conference contender, Poe figures that the Mules should do it by staying true to their team philosophies.
“We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing and hopefully build some momentum going into the postseason,” Poe said.
The MIAA championship tees off April 20 at Alvamar country club in Lawrence, Kan., and concludes April 22.
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Jennies golf finished eighth at the Triton Invitational Monday, April 13, shooting a total of 341 in the opening round.
Sophomore Kelly Welker led the Jennies with an opening round of 81, 10-over par, putting her in a tie for 12th place.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Marsh wasn’t far behind, trailing by a stroke and in a tie for 15th place.
Freshman Taelyn Entriken tied for 29th place after shooting an 86 in her opening round. Entriken has consistently led the Jennies during the spring season, being UCM’s top performer at the Upper Iowa Spring Invite and the UNK Women’s Invitational in the past three weeks.
“I think the biggest obstacle we have to overcome going into conference is the mental aspect,” Entriken said. “Our season has been decent thus far but we haven’t broken through and reached our full potential. We have so much talent on our team and are very capable of winning. Our goal is to break through at conference and finish better than we did last year.”
Last season, the Jennies finished fifth at the MIAA Championships.
The Jennies bounced back in the second round shooting 10 strokes better than they did in the first, finishing with a total of 331.
Welker led the Jennies again in the second round, shooting an 83, leaving her a tie for 20th place for the day with a total of 165.
Entriken and sophomore Maranda Smith shot 170 and finished tied in 33rd. The Jens finished this week’s play with a total of 672, 104 strokes over par. University of Missouri-St. Louis won the invitational with a final tally of 56 over par.
Being such a young team, many Jennies look up to junior Kayla Temple for advice and leadership. Temple has been on the team since its inception.
“Being a third year program we are still in the building process,” Temple said. “We have surpassed some expectations of many people in the past two years and have worked hard to be at the next level.
“Having been here since the program started, I feel like it’s my duty to help the upcoming Jennies be successful in this program and take it upon myself to lead them.”
The Jennies finish the regular season next week with the MIAA Championships April 20-22 at Alvamar Country Club in Lawrence, Kan.
FILE PHOTO BY MEGAN RYBA
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