Men’s golf on par to capture MWC championship

Members of the Grinnell Men's Golf team works hard during a spinning class at Fly High Fitness Studio on Tuesday getting in shape for the spring season. - Michelle Fournier

Members of the Grinnell Men's Golf team works hard during a spinning class at Fly High Fitness Studio on Tuesday getting in shape for the spring season. - Michelle Fournier

Last season, the men’s golf team fell just short of an MWC championship behind both Monmouth College and Knox College. This year, with a bevy of returning players and a strong first-year recruiting class the team looks to right the ship and capture this year’s championship.

According to Pete Kieselbach ’10, one of the leading scorers on the team, new talent promises to deepen the lineup this season. “We added three pretty solid freshmen this year.” Kieselbach said. The addition of Pete Marsho ’12, Eric Ragan ‘12, and Salil Kalghatgi ’12, means there will be more strong contenders for the top six who will play at conference.

Along with this influx of new talent, the team only lost one senior, Joe Fox ’08, so the core from last season remains intact. “In previous years we struggled to fill out a roster of six guys who could break 80,” Kieselbach said. “Now we have it.”

The team, which is coached by Brian Jaworski, will be, for the first time, able to send two teams of five each to various tournaments, a testament to the team’s depth of ability.

Despite this deep well of talent, the team may be limited by budget constraints. Because of costs associated with golf tournament, the team cannot enter all of their golfers into every tournament.

As they cross-train in preparation for the season, the team has been meshing well. “The great thing about our team is that we all hinge on each other,” said Jeff Kljaich ’11, a returning golfer. “Everyone shares responsibility.”

The one-month regular season leading up to the conference championship will provide ample opportunities for the team to feel out the competition and get mentally prepared. “It’s a good opportunity to measure how we’re doing,” said Carlos Lu ’10, a member of the team since his first year.

The team will be traveling to Tucson, Arizona over spring break to compete in a tournament and will also travel to Monmouth for a tournament before competing in the MWC championship. “A lot of pre-conference is getting mentally prepared to play conference.” Kljaich said.

According to Lu, MWC competition will be weaker this year. Monmouth and Knox—both of whom finished ahead of Grinnell last year—lost top players, leaving room open for Grinnell to capture the title.

If Grinnell wins the Conference title, the team will have an automatic bid for the NCAA national tournament in Florida.

“I am as excited as I have ever been about the golf team, because not only is this a deep team that has a lot of talent, they’re an extremely enjoyable group of competitors to work with,” said coach Jaworski. “Everybody’s there all the time.”