The Pios tee off on Northwest Conference competition before the Spring Classic
By Tim Cable /// Staff Writer
If you’re anything like the typical American sports fan, golf might not be your go-to sport. Robert Wang ’19 might have an idea why.
“You’re playing against the course,” Wang said, rather than a traditional opponent. And yet, playing against a course can be one of the most demanding challenges in all of sports.
Golf presents some of the biggest mental challenges an athlete can encounter. Golfing in Oregon magnifies these challenges. The seemingly endless rain leads to courses playing differently, playing slower. Occasionally, it’s an obstacle to even locate the ball after it’s been struck, because the wet grass prevents the ball from bouncing back up. It takes a special kind of mental toughness to succeed as a golfer here in the Pacific Northwest.
That mental toughness has been on display for the Pioneer golf teams over the last two weekends. Both the men’s and women’s teams are hitting their stride at the perfect time, in the heart of the spring season before postseason play.
The women’s team continued their impressive play at the Logger Invitational, taking second on the weekend. This weekend marks the fifth straight event the Pios have placed in the top four, resulting in a ranking of 28th nationally. The Pios have benefitted from the outstanding play of Mady Rhodenbaugh ’19, who finished fourth on the weekend with 153 (+16). Rhodenbaugh built off of a first place finish the previous weekend at the Willamette Cup and a Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the week award, and continued her success through this past weekend.
Claire Burke ’17 also continued her good play, finishing with her second straight top fifteen finish, a 12th place finish with 161 (+19). Maggie Carey ’19 took a 21st place finish with a score of 176 (+34). Jane Almeida ’19 was three places back at 24, with a score of 177 (+35).
The men’s team had all five competitors finish in the 70s the first day at the University of Puget Sound Logger Invitational, marking a season best. Drew Groshong ’17 utilized a final round 70, the best round of the day, to finish off the weekend in fourth place at an even 144.
Trevor Foster ’16 finished fourteenth on the weekend with 152 (+8), while Jacob Bell ‘19 took 20th with 156 (+12). Connor Laubenstein ’16 was just three places behind that, finishing 23rd with a score of 158 (+14). Rounding out the Pios weekend team was Desmond Maisel ’16, who shot a 163 (+19) to finish 33rd. Wang was unable to compete due to illness, but hopes to be back next weekend.
The teams wrapped up the regular season with a rain-shortened home tournament from March 12-13. Both squads will end their seasons at the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship in April.