By Team Captain, Claire Sheldon ‘10
With only five returning players and two incoming freshmen this fall, the Harvard Women's Golf Team might have appeared to lack the depth that it had in previous years when it carried nine or ten players. Without taking anything away from past teams and their success, this could not have been further from the truth. For the first time since I joined the team, every team member has qualified to represent the team in at least one tournament; a true testament to the strength of this seven-person squad. Consistently strong play from junior Mia Kabasakalis, sophomore Christine Cho, and newcomer Katie Sylvan helped lead the team to victories at Yale and Lehigh. These two victories, as well as a second place finish at Princeton and a seventh place finish at the nationally competitive Golfweek Challenge in Las Vegas, are clear indications that our program is continuing to develop and grow in concert with o! ur goals.
The team didn't always get off to the best start on day one, but team members demonstrated mental toughness and perseverance in their ability to stay patient and fight back on the final day to climb up the leader board. At the Golfweek Challenge, the Crimson began the third round in ninth place and after shooting an impressive score of 294, featuring sub-par rounds from Christine Cho and Katie Sylvan, the team finished tied for seventh place. Similarly, the Crimson found itself tied for second with Boston College and ten strokes behind Penn going into the second round at Yale. An afternoon round of 299 pushed the team into first place by nine shots. This second-round improvement proved essential to the team's win as Sunday's final round was cancelled due to heavy rain and wet course conditions. In the last tournament of the fall, the Lehigh Invitational, the team was trailing Columbia by six shots goin! g into the final round, As a result of weather challenges the first day, the final round entailed playing the challenging back nine at the Saucon Valley Weyhill twice. Once again though, the team made up ground, this time on a cold and windy day on a difficult golf course, to win the tournament by three shots.
While the Women's Golf Team found great individual and team success again this fall, we also saw the level of play within the league rise considerably. Teams throughout the league have grown stronger, while historically dominant programs have managed to remain sharp. Though we try not to focus on other teams, acknowledging the increased level of competition within the League will help motivate us as we move into the off-season. With the help of our coach, Kevin Rhoads, the off-season is a time to build upon the fall and prepare for another successful spring campaign.
In reflecting on the fall, we cannot help but look forward to the spring. As we acknowledge our strengths, we can also review our weaknesses and develop a plan to improve upon them. Each trip across the river, whether to the simulator or to workouts, will help us come back a better, stronger team, ready to compete in the spring. And, when we look out the window of our respective rooms to see snow and ice-covered streets, remembering how competitive the fall season was, and the work that is necessary to improve, will help make the walk across the river seem a bit more bearable.
Many thanks to Coach Rhoads, Fred Schernecker, and all of our parents and generous Friends for their help and support. See you in the spring!