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Men's & Women's Golf Hand Out Awards; Name 2011-12 Captains

By Fred Schernecker

BROOKLINE, Mass. – On May 1, the Harvard Golf Program gathered at The Country Club in Brookline to celebrate the 2010-2011 season, a gathering made possible by the Friends of Harvard Golf.

Thank you to the Friends of Harvard Golf who make this annual banquet possible and to our Friends, alums and parents who were in attendance.

The evening served as an opportunity to celebrate success and recognize the achievements of our teams and individual members. 

Perhaps the most noteworthy accomplishment of our teams happened off the course. We have been tracking team GPAs for the past several years. The team GPA after the fall semester was 3.43 for the men's team and 3.70 for the women's team. Both results are the highest team GPAs we have seen and are outstanding. 

MEN'S GOLF TEAM:          
Coach Burke began the banquet with a recap of the men's season. The team highlights included a victory at the Century Intercollegiate where five Ivy teams competed alongside several other northeast teams. Additionally, the Crimson finished ahead of six Ivy League schools with a second-place finish at the Northeast Invite. 

Individually, Mark Pollak '12 won the Yale Spring Opener and earned 2nd Team All Ivy honors. Seiji Liu '14 was victorious at the Century Intercollegiate for another individual crown. Theo Lederhausen '14 had a strong top-5 showing at the MacDonald Cup (including a hole-in-one) and Tony Grillo '12 led the charge at the Northeast Invite with a third-place finish. There is reason for strong optimism heading into next year, as the four players mentioned above were the nucleus of the team and are all returning.

Following are the men's team award winners for 2010-2011.

Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award: "Rob Erickson was a three year golf letterman and member of the class of '01 who passed away on January 20, 2005. His friends and teammates knew Rob as a strong advocate for his school, his friends, and the values he shared with his parents. While every Harvard student remembers how it felt to open their acceptance letter, Rob seemed to carry that feeling with him every day throughout college. As a Harvard student-athlete, Rob saw it as his responsibility to help younger players feel welcome at Harvard. When recruits visited campus, Rob was the first to meet them and always offered to house them during their stay. Those who eventually came to Harvard knew they already had one good friend on the team. 

In recognition of Rob's contributions to Harvard and the golf program, the golf team has created a Team Player award to be given to the golfer who best follows Rob's example in his commitment to team and community – the Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award."

Past Winners:         
'05 – Tom Hegge '07           '06 – James Cleary '06          '07 – Tom Hegge '07
'08 – Mike Shore '09            '09 – John Christensen '09    '10 – Peter Singh '10

Congratulations to the 2011 winner of the Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award: Theo Lederhausen '14.

Alex Vik '78 MVP:   "As a freshman in 1975, Alex won the inaugural Ivy League Championship individually and led the team to their only team Ivy League Championship the same year. The following year he won the individual trophy again and followed up with two more All Ivy performances. Alex has continued to be a valuable member of the Harvard Golf program as a Co-Chair of the Friends of Harvard Board and the father of women's team member Caroline Vik. This award is given annually to the team member who is most responsible for moving the program toward its vision of becoming the best program in the Northeast."

Past Winners:
'05 – Chris Wu '05        '06 – David (DJ) Hynes '06       '07 – Greg Shuman '10
'08 – Not awarded.       '09 – Greg Shuman '10            '10 – Tony Grillo '12

Congratulations to the 2011 winner of the Alex Vik '78 MVP Award: Mark Pollak '12.

The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award:  "Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit and character helps them and their teammates overachieve."

'10 – Greg Shuman '10

The 2011 Biff Jeeks award winner is Kevin McCarthy '14

Captain:   Prior to the banquet, the team voted for team captain.  Congratulations to Tony Grillo '12 who will be serving his second term as captain this coming year.

WOMEN'S GOLF TEAM:              
Coach Kevin Rhoads remarked on the challenges the women's team faced losing two starting seniors and a third starter from a team that had emerged as a dominant force in the northeast. The leadership of senior captain Mia Kabasakalis '11 was noteworthy as the team showed great resolve and growth on and off the course. The best finish of the fall was second place at the Harvard Invitational and the best finish of the spring was an exciting run at the Ivy Championship that came up four strokes short. In both tournaments, Yale came away with a lower score. But the group effort and commitment showed that Harvard had become a great team ! over the course of the year. Although the women's team did not win a tournament this year after winning an amazing 17 tournaments the previous three seasons, their tournament scoring average was actually better than two of the past three years. Women's collegiate golf continues to improve!

Individual highlights include Mia Kabasakalis finishing 2nd in the final tournament of her career to earn First Team All Ivy at the Ivy Championships. Christine Cho '12 earned 2nd Team All Ivy with her solid performance. Bonnie Hu '14 was an outstanding performer all year and set the new record for season scoring average at Harvard (75.55). Bonnie will head to the NCAA Regionals as an individual – the first time a member of the women's team has been invited as an individual.

As the lone senior in the golf program this year, Mia's spirit, strong achievement orientation and leadership will be sorely missed. Of note, Mia is only the 2nd team member in history to improve her scoring average each of her four years. We are grateful for all that she did for Harvard Golf.  We wish Mia great success and count on her to stay close to the program. 

Following are the women's team award winners for 2010-2011.

The Short Game Award: "Most of our competition is competent from tee to green. Since over 50% of strokes take place within 50 yards of the hole, scoring at all levels comes from the short game – getting the ball in the hole from around the green. This requires practice, strategy, imagination, touch . . . and more practice. As a first step towards improvement, we measure our results. The Short Game Award goes to the player with the most effective short game as measured by our statistical program."

Past winners:
'02 – Merry Chiampa '04    '03 – Kathryn Kuchefski '06      '04 – Merry Chiampa '04
'05 – Jeen-Joo Kang '05     '06 – Jessica Hazlett, '08          '07 – Emily Balmert '09
'08 – Emily Balmert '09      '09 – Christine Cho '12             '10 – Christine Cho '12

The 2011 Short Game Award was not awarded this year.

The Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award: "Warren Smith started the Harvard Women's Golf program in 1993. For most people who knew Warren, he was the nicest man they knew. A true gentleman. A good man who always had a kind and helpful thing to say. He was a father and a grandfather away from home for many Harvard students and a role model for all. In difficult times and good times; through personal adversity Warren always exhibited Sportsmanship, Dedication, Etiquette, and Kindness. Harvard Women's Golf awards the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award each year to the team member who best exemplifies the ideals established by Coach Smith."

Past Winners:
'02 – Elisa Schaar '04          '03 – Jennifer Cronan '06        '04 – Jacquie Rooney '07
'05 – Carrie Baizer '05         '06 –  Caitlin Hicks '06            '07 – Jacquie Rooney '07
'08 – Debbi Amanti '08        '09  – Claire Sheldon '10         '10 – Sarah Harvey '10

Congratulations to the 2011 winner of the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award: Chloe Altchek '13. 

The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award:  "Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit helps them and their teammates overachieve."

Past Winners:           '10 – Claire Sheldon '10

Congratulations to this year's Biff Jeeks Award winner: Mia Kabasakalis '11.

Captain:   Prior to the banquet, the team elected Christine Cho '12 as their new captain succeeding outgoing senior Mia Kabasakalis.