As spring approaches, it is time to put away the basketballs and footballs and shake the dust off of our tennis rackets, baseball bats and golf clubs.
For the IUP golf team, it took to the course for the first time this semester last Friday and Saturday and opened the spring season with a combined 57-over 633 and a sixth-place finish at the Brown Gold Intercollegiate.
Kenneth Sames (senior, undeclared business) tied for sixth overall individually by shooting a nine-over 153 in two rounds, seven shots back of the champion. Brett Geiser (senior, management) finished two strokes behind Sames and tied for 12th.
“It was so great just to be able to see the ball fly outside,” Geiser said. “[I] definitely miss being out there.”
The team looks to maintain the high standards it has set for itself over the years. A host of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Player of the Year awards have been given out to an IUP player seven of the last eight years, with Sames continuing the tradition last season. IUP golf also has a rich practice of winning PSAC Championships. Currently, the Crimson Hawks have 26 conference championships, with the last one coming in 2012.
In the hunt for championship No. 27, there are a few factors that could help the Crimson Hawks reach what has alluded them for three seasons come this fall.
“I feel like in the past few seasons we have been very close, but the right putts just haven’t dropped for us,” Geiser said. “Through the right recruiting, hard work and dedication, I think the boys will bring it home next year.”
You also could not mention the continued excellence of IUP’s golf program without the mention of its head coach, 11-time PSAC Coach of the Year Fred Joseph.
With the season underway, the Crimson Hawks have their eyes set on a NCAA Regional Championship, which would be their sixth, as well as a NCAA Championship appearance, which would be the program’s 34th appearance and ninth consecutive trip.
“The main goal for the season team wise is to win regionals and get to nationals in Denver,” Geiser said.
Also participating in this weekend’s tournament was former PSAC Freshman of the Year (2013-14) and 2014-15 second-team All-PSAC player Max Kirsch (junior, undeclared business), who tied for 22nd with a 15-over 159 in his opening tournament.
The next time the Crimson Hawks will return to the course will be at California University of Pennsylvania’sCoach Carpenter Classic in Crofton, Md., on March 28-29.