The women’s golf team competed this past weekend as a varsity sport for the first time in Wesleyan history. Teeing off at the Mount Holyoke Invitational in South Hadley, Mass., the Cardinals finished in 12th place out of 17 teams competing. The Red and Black know there’s room for improvement individually and as a team, but the first tournament of the inaugural season can only be seen as a positive as the Cardinals head into their next tournament this weekend at the Middlebury Invitational.
Williams College won the tournament shooting a 23 over par as a team, followed by New York University and Middlebury College at 46 over par.
Individually, Alexis Banquer ’20 led the way for the Cardinals, posting a two-day score of 233. Meg Wiley ’22 followed, shooting a 245. Captain Saadia Naeem ’20, who was only able to compete one day, posted a one day score of 114.
Naeem felt that the team can work to fight the grind that is a two-day golf tournament.
“I felt individually it went fine,” Naeem said. “The biggest aspect that we need to work on going forward is probably the mental aspect…. Developing the mental fortitude is important. Playing in a two-day tournament is grueling. It requires being focused and attentive and being in touch with a calm side of yourself for an extended period of time. You don’t really have to do that during your day-to-day life [at Wesleyan] like you do for five hours on Saturday and Sunday of a golf tournament.”
Getting the season started is an important aspect of the improvement process for the team. It was the first tournament for Banquer at Wesleyan. For Naeem, playing is an important process of growth and measurement.
“Every time we go to a tournament, it’s a chance to see where we are,” she said. “It’s a good motivator to keep working because we want to get better every week.”
The captain has a positive outlook and plans for going forward with the season. She explained her outlook for improvement, individually, mentally, and as a team.
“A successful tournament or a successful round is not necessarily about the score, but about going into each shot, round, and tournament with a plan and how effectively you can execute the strategy,” Naeem said. “The score follows along with the execution. If you can leave each shot, round, and tournament happy with the execution of your plan, then that’s a positive day.”
This attitude is important going forward as the team gets ready to compete the next two weekends. However, the Cardinals know they can improve on the scorecard as well.
“We all have strong skills, and it’s important for us to stay confident in that and execute to the best of our abilities,” Naeem said. “A focus on ensuring that we are effectively following the plan and playing to the best of our ability will help us to improve our scores.”
This upcoming weekend, the team gets back into action at the Middlebury Invitation at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury, Vt. They will see many of the same teams and will use this tournament to build into the Williams Fall Invitational on Oct. 5 and 6, which is also the NESCAC Championship qualifier. If the team does well enough there, they can qualify for the NESCAC tournament.
However the team fares on the course, they have to be proud of the progress the program has made and where it is headed.
“We’re building a team, which takes time, but we are all going to focus on doing what we love, which is playing golf every day,” Naeem said. “It’s such a blessing to be able to play in college and I’m incredibly thankful for this experience. The team will grow and continue to grow long after I’m gone which is a testament to Coach, and the energy, commitment, and passion which we’ve brought to the team this year.”
Emilio Weber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.