Rockers eager for chance to golf on national stage
Mines women's golf team have automatic bid to NAIA tournament.
By Jeff Budlong, Journal staff | Monday, April 27, 2009
RAPID CITY — The South Dakota School of Mines women’s golf team enters the 2009 NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship knowing just what it wants to get out of it — experience. The Hardrockers received an automatic bid into the national tournament as the host school, but for a team that was just able to field enough players to qualify for the team competition two years ago the goals have been adjusted.
“This will be a good experience for the team for them to see the showcase on the highest stage,” Mines head golf coach Eric Glenn said. “This program is still relatively new with some fairly inexperienced girls. We are still in the grass roots stage, but this is something they can learn from and enjoy.�� This will be the first of two consecutive years the Hardrockers will host the golf national championship at Meadowbrook Golf Course. The Hardrocker team — Stephanie Leber, Jodie Kaup, Alya Brausen, Jamie Lien and Larissa Rantapaa — has a wide range of experience levels with some just recently taking up the game to more seasoned golfers. Rantapaa, who just started playing golf for the Hardrockers this spring, has quickly become her team’s most consistent golfer. “She is from Lead and she was going to school at South Dakota State for a couple of years, and I didn’t even know she had transferred here,” Glenn said. “Then during the basketball season I saw she was on the dance team and asked her to come out. She is a little rusty but she has a month to get ready and it is on a course she is familiar with.” Mines will field a team of four at the tournament because Brausen will be unable to attend because of a conference, but Glenn still has high hopes for all his players.
SD Mines junior Larissa Rantapaa putts on the No. 9 hole at Meadowbrook Golf Course last week during the Hardrockers home meet. Photo by Brad Blume “I just want them to go out there and go for a (personal best) and try to shoot the best score they can,” he said. “It is a course they have played, and it is one they are comfortable with.” Glenn said he is looking forward to the opportunity to show off the area to colleges from all over the U.S. “We are a hidden gem on the plains,” he said. “We had a preview tournament in the fall and had teams from Oklahoma City, Missouri and Indiana and they weren’t sure about it until they got here and they enjoyed it. As long as the weather holds up it will be a great experience." The 2009 championship will be May 12-15. There will be approximately 129 competitors representing 25 teams in the field, plus a handful of individual qualifiers. Both team and individual champions will be crowned.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.