Golf team shivers through practice

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

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With their spring season coming up, the Eagles are currently trying to adjust to the cold weather during practices.

The Eastern golf team is currently ranked sixth in the Big Sky spring preseason poll. Eastern is ranked above schools like Weber State, Montana State and Northern Colorado. With a rank of 62 points, Eastern is behind University of Montana, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah by only a few points.

“It’s a fair assessment I think. I feel we can beat a couple of teams ahead of us,” head coach Brenda Howe said. “But to be honest, I don’t pay much attention to the poll. Unlike other sports, we as coaches basically vote on the finish of one tournament.”

Sophomore golfer Marissa Borja, on the other hand, has better aspirations for the team. “We’re in the middle of the pack so it’s decent, but I feel like our team has higher expectations,” Borja said. “I feel like this year, our team is getting stronger.”

Junior transfer from California, Taylor Crandall said, “I just can’t wait to get back out and play some actual real golf, it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. This offseason, I feel like we’ve gotten a lot of good work in. Everyone is putting in their time and working hard.”

Gradually, the team has been getting together to start preparing for the upcoming spring season. “Virtual golf in Spokane, they’ve been really kind to us,” Borja said. “We’ve been practicing there at least twice a week.”

According to Howe, the current weather conditions are making it difficult to practice on an actual golf course. “We are currently working on our swings on golf simulators. The simulators provide us with very accurate feedback on what’s happening when we hit the ball,” Howe said. These golf simulators are located at Virtual Golf in Spokane, the place has a virtual golf course library of 56 available courses.

Howe mentions that the team has a common goal to improve their short game percentage, chipping and putting. The players are expected to have a few hours a week to work on their individual game on campus.

The players have been seeing sports psychologist, Nicole Baldwin to improve their mental approach going into the season. “There [are] many things that go into your thinking when you’re out there on the golf course,” Crandall said. “Golf is a very mental game, and it’s important for all of us to remember to just stay in the moment and not let yourself get too bogged down with pressure.”

Borja has her sights set on rival Portland State and their number one ranking in the conference. “I feel like Portland State is definitely a team to beat,” Borja said.

Crandall, on the other hand, is looking forward to playing against the California schools. “There [are] people I’ve grown up and played against since junior golf and I always like to play against the best competitors,” Crandall said.

Howe looks forward to seeing any conference school. “With golf, we don’t have ‘matches’ with each Big Sky school. Theoretically, you could go an entire season without seeing a team in your conference until the final event of the year,” Howe said. She states that, each tournament, the team plays will usually have only a few Big Sky teams.

Borja has an optimistic view on the team’s future gradually progressing. “We definitely have the potential to be one of the top teams. I feel like we’re slowly making our way up there,” Borja said.

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