Jackrabbit golf shows off during fall, prepares for spring

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

Coming into the golf season, the Jackrabbits had zero wins as a Division I university; now they have three.

The men’s team won its first tournament of the fall, the Fairway Club Invitational hosted by Nebraska, the Cleveland State Invitational and their last one, the Santa Clara Invitational, before the winter break.

“(The season) went extremely well; better than we could have scripted,” head coach Jared Baszler said. “We’re currently ranked 78th in the country. That was one of my goals as a coach to be a top-100 program for the men and women. The men’s season has been great. We’ve played 14 rounds of golf, (and) we’ve had three bad rounds in all out of 14 rounds. If we don’t have those three bad rounds, we potentially could be a top-40 or 50 program.”

The three seniors for the Jacks – Geoff Mead, Tim Kalil and Trent Peterson – led their team in a strong season. Peterson, the Summit League Athlete of the Month for August and September, finished as the runner-up in all three tournaments the Jacks won. Mead finished in the top 20 of all five tournaments, including winning the Cleveland State Invitational.

“It’s been very important and not just on the golf course,” Baszler said of the senior leadership. “They give me a lot of good input as far as what to do with little different things in the program. But on the golf course, it’s invaluable; they’ve worked very hard ? showing younger kids in the program what’s possible.”

On the women’s side, the Jacks’ highest finish was third place at the Aztec Classic hosted by San Diego State University. The Jacks finished in the bottom half of the field in every other tournament they competed in, which Baszler attributes to the greenness of the team.

“We’re very young; we had some good rounds and some really bad rounds too,” Baszler said. “We showed some signs of promise, but we just need to be more consistent. That’s what we’ve battled the last couple of years, both the men and the women have. We’ve consistently had to go out and shoot the round good teams score in order to be a good Division I golf program, and we tend to lose sight of that sometimes.”

Both teams improved significantly over the summer. Baszler said the difference between last spring and this fall was tremendous, especially on the men’s side.

“Everybody on the men’s team has gotten better over the last six months,” Baszler said. “They all play a lot of golf during the summer, and that’s part of our requirements as a program. If you are going to be part of this program, you have to make the dedication and commitment to playing a lot of golf and a lot of competitive golf during the summer.”

Both teams are now facing the challenges that the winter brings. The teams will work with strength and conditioning coach Nate Moe to improve their flexibility and add some distance, Baszler said. The teams will begin hitting balls in a converted racquetball court at the start of the spring semester to prepare for the spring season.