By Taylor Hudson /// Staff Writer
The men’s and women’s golf teams are already back in the saddle and ready to improve their rankings from last season, one stroke at a time. Last spring, the women finished the 2014 Northwest Conference in fifth place, while the men finished in sixth.
The two-day Pacific Lutheran Invitational at Lake Spanaway Golf Course on Sept. 13 marked the beginning of their season. The women came out strong, shooting a team score of 659, placing them in second, while the men rounded out the invitational in fourth place, shooting a combined 612.
The season has just begun, and there is a long road ahead for both teams with five tournaments in the fall and five in the spring. However, two second-years look promising. Nik “Baby” Parcell (’17) from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Arielle Valdez (’17) from Los Angeles, California, spent their summers preparing for the upcoming season.
“I tried to play every day I could. I practiced when I didn’t have work, and played in a few local tournaments and charity events,” Parcell said. Valdez also put in work over the summer.
Their commitment to their sport can be traced back to their childhoods. Both athletes fell in love with the sport when they were two years old.
“I would say my dad got me hooked on golf. When I was little I would watch him hit balls from our garage and it was really cool. I did try other sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball, but golf was the sport for me. It has always been about meeting different people and having a good time,” Valdez said.
Their long-term dedication to the sport paid off in this competitive conference. At the PLU invitational, Parcell placed third, with a best of 69 on the second day, and Valdez tied for second.
Although the two players have many years of experience under their belts, great support and competition run throughout the two teams as whole. Their goals going into the season focus on developing a sense of team and working together to help everyone’s game instead of playing as individuals.
“We try to keep it fun,” says Parcell, “for me that’s really what it is all about. I’m just swingin’.”