After finishing third last year on the second day of the 2021–22 Liberty League Championship, the Ithaca College golf team takes the course and is looking to build and make improvements from last year.
With the new season taking shape, Bombers’ sophomore Rheanna DeCrow said the team has been staying prepared for the upcoming season despite some difficulties it faces in the winter.
“I know we all practice super hard during the summer, we all played in tournaments,” DeCrow said. “Everyone’s situation was a little bit different, but we all played in tournaments. Then in the offseason, obviously when there’s snow all over the ground, it’s hard to train.”
DeCrow said that when it becomes more difficult to get outside and practice, the team has to make the most of the resources it has.
“Coming into the spring season is really tough because you don’t get a whole lot of time outside, you don’t get a whole lot of time on the grass, you’re relying on the simulator and you’re having indoor practices to get you through,” DeCrow said. “We have a training trip coming up which will be really nice but it’s about just trying to stay motivated, trying to get as much experience and as many swings in as possible and to keep that muscle memory intact.”
On top of their preparation for this season, first-year student Annika Michel said the team has been staying prepared under the guidance of head coach Keith Batson.
“[Batson] makes sure to keep in contact with us and really keeps us motivated,” Michel said. “It’s hard in the offseason since golf is such an outdoor sport. He just makes sure that he’s there for us to really coach us through whatever we’re working on individually.”
Part of the team’s preparation is the team culture that Batson has fostered on South Hill and how commitment and dedication play a big role in the Bombers’ preparation for this season.
“Our culture is great,” Batson said via email. “They are all really dedicated and push each other. Our spring break trip in March helps kick off our spring and gives us a week together to really kickstart our season.”
With the spring season starting up March 16, Batson said that he is largely looking forward to seeing his team build upon its skills each day.
“Our goals are to improve each week, learn, have fun and ultimately play our best golf at the conference championship,” Batson said via email.
Batson said that although the spring is technically the competition season, the team did some valuable offseason work in the fall and gained some momentum that it is hoping to keep improving upon.
“It’s a wrap-around season from the fall,” Batson said via email. “We had a really strong fall and we are looking to continue on that progress.”
Batson also said the Bombers have had to prepare for this season without one of their key players, which was a blow to the team dynamic.
“One of our standout players, [senior] Mary Gersec, is not eligible to play this spring due to the [School of Humanities and Sciences’] rule for student-athletes which includes not being able to play a sport when you are student teaching,” Batson said via email. “We are a smaller team than we’d like to be, but our goals are still the same.”
Although the Bombers will be without Gersec this season, Batson said that this year’s team still brings some attention-grabbing skill.
“Cristea [Park] is finishing off her senior year strong, [DeCrow’s] improvement from last year to this year and seeing that momentum keep going and watching [Michel] play her second half of her first season with more comfort and understanding of how college golf works will be really exciting,” Batson said via email.
Along with their preparation for the upcoming spring season, Michel said that the Bombers will still have some strong opponents to look out for after having a strong fall season.
“[New York University] is at the top of our league,” Michel said. “We won’t be going directly to play them this season because we’ve played them in the fall, but they’ll be at the Liberty League Championships and they’re really who we have to beat.”
The Bombers’ first matchup of the spring season will take place March 16 during the team’s spring break trip when they take on the Amherst College Mammoths in Orlando, Florida at the Cleveland Heights Golf Course.