Review staff writer
With the fall season wrapping up, the women’s golf team is preparing for its culminating event: the Northwest Conference Fall Classic, being held at Juniper Golf Course on Oct. 18 and 19.
The tournament is the grand finale of the fall season, with points counting toward the Wildcats’ path to nationals in the spring, head coach Karly Cramer said.
Freshman Lydia Smith, who finished with an 18-hole score of 89 at the George Fox Invitational two weeks ago, found herself at ease regarding the coming game. Struggling in the beginning of the season, Smith has progressively improved her performance.
In preparation for the big event, she is practicing five days a week for roughly two hours a day, mainly concentrating on her short game, she said.
Cramer, who believes her team has the potential to win the entire conference, said she is confident her players are prepared for the game and have done everything they can possibly do to be ready. Cramer also said she believes the tournament will be a good experience for the women to see true competition, as new teammates have not yet played all the teams in a meet that counts toward NWC standings.
“I hope to see us do the best we can do,” Cramer said. “It’s exciting, but we are trying to stay focused on the task at hand.”
Part of the team’s sense of ease toward the impending finale is caused by Cramer’s relaxed coaching style.
“When I’m playing I don’t stress about a bad shot,” Smith said. “I just keep on going.”
Cramer’s coaching could also be the reason for a recent increase of interest in the program.
Since inheriting the head coach position from Marty Bergan in 2006, Cramer has seen an increase in players from about four to 10 this year, she said.
Already looking ahead to the spring season, which is longer and more intense than the fall and includes the NWC Spring Classic, Cramer is optimistic about the team’s chances of advancing to nationals.
“I’m very happy with our team,” Cramer said.