Judah Newby | Sports Editor
The opening quad of fall semester on Wheaton’s campus can be busy for many students, academically speaking. But imagine juggling a school load while also being part of the women’s golf team, who adhere to the following season schedule during A – quad:
Aug. 31 – Tournament in North Chicago. Sept. 4 – Tournament in Bristol, Ill. Sept. 7-8 – Tournament in Marshall, Mich. Sept. 13 – Tournament in Racine, Wisc. Sept. 18 – Tournament in Naperville, Ill. Sept. 24-25 – Tournament in South Bend, Ind. Oct. 4-6 – Conference Championships in Racine, Wisc.
That is quite a bit of missed time in class, as well as quite a bit of travel time in a van and quite a few miles trekking up and down foreign fairways. But such is the nature of a fall golf season in the CCIW, where the threats of poor playing conditions and the hassle of rescheduling tournaments demands such a compacted schedule in the fair month of September.
“Yes, the way the schedule worked out this year, we are playing our entire season in a five-week span,” Head Coach Janet Moore told the Record. “It is a lot for the players to handle. However, I am blessed that we have a very dedicated group of student-athletes this year, and they are staying on top of things.” The Thunder have played in three team events already this year, as well as a fourth yesterday in Wisconsin, but results were not available at the time of print.
Since the beginning of the year Wheaton has finished sixth of 11 teams at the Robert Morris University Fall Classic, fifth of 10 teams at the Aurora University Invitational, and last weekend finished eighth of 13 teams at the Olivet College Fall Invitational.
“I am very pleased with our team this year,” Coach Moore said. “We have great leadership in our captains Sarah Moore and Christabelle Bishman. I am also encouraged with the improvement our returners have made over the summer. We talked last spring about (the fact that) if you put hard work in over the summer, it will pay off. And they did.”
No seniors are on the women’s Thunder roster this season, but the team does return sophomores Gretchen Ganther and Alexa Tyler as well as captains Bishman and Moore, both juniors. Coach Moore is also pleased with the play of the three new freshman: Allie Burgarello of Glendale, Ariz., Alexa Pontus of Grandville, Mich., and Kim VanAusdall of Hudsonville, Mich.
“I am so impressed with both Gretchen Ganther and Christabelle Bishman’s improvement this year,” Moore said of her returners. “In three rounds, Gretchen has remarkably taken off 12 shots from her average score last year. Christabelle has only played in one tournament this year and shot an 86 while her best score last year was a 95. It is a great reminder of what talent, hard work and determination will do.”
The team also welcomes back two – time All–CCIW player in Sarah Moore, who now plays with the team full–time after splitting time between golf and cross country last fall. She carded a 77 in her first round of the year with five birdies on her opening 18 holes, taking fourth place individually at the Robert Morris University Fall Classic. At that tournament, Wheaton finished sixth of 11 teams, with help from Bishman’s career–best 86, Ganther’s 86 including an eagle on the 10th hole, Tyler’s 88 and the freshman Burgarello’s 90.
The team most recently took eighth of a thirteen-team field at the two-day Olivet Fall Invitational last weekend. Ganther paced the team with an 82 on Friday and a 91 on Saturday for a total of 173 strokes. Tyler was right behind her with a 92 on Friday and an 85 on Saturday for a total of 177 to help the Thunder to the eighth spot.
“My goals for the team this year are to continue to lower their scores throughout the season and work on consistency,” Moore said. “We tend to shoot a low score one round and not be able to follow it up with another one. We have six players who have the game and talent to shoot in the low 80s and even mid 70s consistently. I just need to get them all to believe it.”
After they travel to Wisconsin on Thursday, Wheaton continues the busy September schedule next Tuesday as they
travel to Naperville for the North Central College Fall Classic at Spring Brook Golf Course.
Photo and Banner courtesy Janet Moore.
Printed in the September 14, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to email@example.com.