By Jeremy Esparza
Over the course of the 2016-2017 campaign, the William Penn University Women’s Golf team has proved to be a true powerhouse in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
William Penn University Women’s Golf has finished its most recent competition, the Oklahoma City Classic, with an impressive accomplishment. The team set a new 54-hole record, which was previously held at 947 strokes. The #25 ranked WPU squad has worked effortlessly in the fall and off season to rise to the successes of the important spring season.
There are various factors that have come into place with the success of the team as a whole. Alyssa Kerry, a junior on William Penn University’s Golf Team, is exuberant about the program’s recent successes. “It is such a great experience knowing that I am a part of a program that is able to compete at such a high level”, said Kerry. There is an ample amount of components that have allowed this well-oiled machine to continue to pump out success.
Kerry believes that a main reason for the success within the program is because of the dedication that the women have put into the program. “We spend a lot of the offseason working on our mental aspect of our game. It has allowed us to be able to grow as a person and become much more mentally strong on the course”, says Kerry.
Along with various individuals preparing for success on and off of the golf course, the coaching staff has made a tremendous impact on the program. Nik Rule, head coach of the program, is extremely happy with the way the team has been evolving. “Our staff loves this team; they respond so well to everything we challenge them to do”, says Rule. Rule is in his 7th season as head coach for the women’s golf program and believes this team is the best he has coached. “They have the best attitude of any team we have coached and the most talent. We are on the right track and we are very focused”, says Rule.
Similarly, Courtney Cunningham, a senior at William Penn University, also believes that this year has been the most dedicated and tight group of girls she has played with.
A tied fifth place finish in Oklahoma City against eleven other teams in a 54-hole event with a team score of 945 (319-313-313). This 54-hole team score set a new record, beating last year’s score of 947 at the same tournament. Elise Warne headed the squad with a 54-hole score of 233 (78-78-77), followed by Helene Larsen in 28th (237, 78-80-79) and Courtney Cunningham in 30th (239, 86-74-79).
Senior, Courtney Cunningham has been an anchor for the team thus far. Contributing to the top place successes of the team. A top five finish at TPC Deere Run, tied first place finish at Iowa Central, a top-30 finish in Oklahoma and top ten at home, Cunningham has been a consistent player for the Statesmen squad. Along with Cunningham, sophomore Elise Warne has been a key player this season for the program. Top fifteen finish at TPC Deere Run, third place finish at Iowa Central, heading to a playoff at the Mike “Fluff” Cowan Invitational.
The women’s golf team have one regular season tournament left, a 36 hole dual against Bellevue University (Neb.) in its campaign this year. This dual leads into the postseason with the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship being teed off on home turf: Edmundson Golf Course in Oskaloosa on May 8 and 9.