Mixed season for Maverick golf
October 31st, 2011
Omaha, NE â€“ The University of Nebraska Omaha closed its womenâ€™s golf season up last week in Kirksville, Missouri with a first place finish. KVNOâ€™s Brandon McDermott sat down with Head Coach Tim Nelson to see how the womenâ€™s team, and fledgling menâ€™s team, fared this season.
Though the year didnâ€™t quite go the way he planned, Coach Nelson said he is proud of how both his womenâ€™s and menâ€™s teams performed this season, despite some obstacles. With UNO moving to Division I this year, Nelson said UNO had several scheduling conflicts.
â€œI think the hardest part about it was changing conferences,â€ Nelson said. â€œGetting to know the new coaches and golf courses, I think thatâ€™s been, not difficult, but a little frustrating.â€
This was Nelsonâ€™s ninth year leading the womenâ€™s golf team. On paper, they progressively got better as the season advanced despite a slip up at the Southern Illinois at Edwardsville Intercollegiate Tournament. The Mavericks opened the season with a lackluster fifth place finish at the Drury Lady Panther Fall Shootout in Bolivar, Missouri, but finished strong, placing third, sixth, second and first in the final four tournaments of the season.
UNO closed out the year last Monday at the Bulldog Classic Tournament, which was hosted by Truman State. They finished in first place and showed their dominance, winning by 35 strokes.
â€œI think what we brought was the quality and competitiveness with the kids,â€ Nelson said. â€œThey responded to our coaching, and I think that was one of the fun parts.â€
Brooke Thilges and Elizabeth Havekost are two players Nelson said have worked hard, and have not only talent, but also the drive to improve. Armana Christianson was statistically UNOâ€™s best player this year with an average score of 79.2. She closed the year out as the first place medalist at the Bulldog Classic.
New this year for UNO was the addition of the menâ€™s golf program, which is also coached by Nelson. Though the men havenâ€™t had the same success as the women this year, Nelson said he expects them to be very competitive for years to come.
Nelson credits his assistants for helping him balance the responsibilities of coaching two teams. â€œIf I didnâ€™t have (Assistant Coach) Seth Porter working with me, I would probably spend a lot of time in a bar,â€ Nelson said. â€œIt sounds funny, but heâ€™s taken a lot of pressure off. He knows the golf game, he has played it, and heâ€™s coached it.â€
With a strong coaching staff under him, and decisive leadership above him, Nelson said he expects his team to flourish.
â€œItâ€™s a building process,â€ Nelson said. â€œI think itâ€™s something we can build on.â€
â€œThe thing that I am proudest of,â€ he said, â€œis the way these kids want to get better, not only on the golf course, but also we condition three days a week, and they work very hard to get physically better, and they work very hard in the classroom.â€
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