After over a month's work of solid effort, improvement and success, the men's and women's golf teams have concluded their fall seasons with much to be proud of.
The men's team finished the fall season Monday and Tuesday by tying for fifth place at the annual Kansas City Kansas Community College Fall Tournament. Thirteen teams participated in the 18-hole tournament, including the Baker varsity and junior varsity squads.
Head coach Karen Exon said she was impressed with the varsity squad's overall performance.
"I was really pleased with our varsity squad beating all the (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) teams in the tournament," she said. "You certainly want to take care of business in the region and in the conference, and we did that."
Leading the varsity was sophomore Gavin Tatrn, whoplaced fourth individually with a team-low score of 150, just one shot away from tying for second place. Tatrn was the only NAIA golfer in the tournament to place in the top five. Exon said she was pleased with Tatrn's consistency to produce solid low scores throughout the tournament and fall season.
"He's had a really nice fall and has been pretty consistent," she said. "He worked so hard over the summer on his game and played in a variety of local and state competitions, and that hard work over the summer has clearly paid dividends this fall."
Just behind Tatrn for the varsity squad was junior Chase Day with a score of 157, followed by freshman Chris Wilson and junior PJ Matulka with 161 and freshman Adam Taylor with 163.
The Baker men also competed a week before in the Southwestern College fall tournament in Winfield. The Wildcats returned with a fifth place finish in the 36-hole tournament consisting of nine different schools. Wilson led the pack for Baker, tying for a sixth place finish individually. Wilson's score of 149 was one stroke away from fifth place and five behind the top finisher.
With a fall season full of stiff competition, the Wildcats will use their offseason to improve and find a consistent top-five varsity squad that will produce low scores during the spring season. Exon said she will look to the upperclassmen to step up on the young team to provide leadership and consistency for the upcoming season.
"We have three or four guys that clearly belong on the varsity squad tournament in and tournament out," she said. "We also have three or four more guys who, in any given round or tournament, are going to play really well. We need those guys to get more consistent and once we get somewhere in between six to eight guys that are consistently low from round to round and tournament to tournament, we're going to be a really good team."
Tatrn, who competed consistently in Baker's top five throughout the fall, said he anticipates the team to carry on its success into the spring season.
"I think we had a very successful fall season," he said. "The two freshmen stood out. They played real well and they'll contribute quite a bit in the spring. I think we played pretty good throughout the fall."
Like the men, the Baker women's team has found much success in its fall season. The Wildcats concluded the fall with a second place finish in the Southwestern College fall tournament in Winfield. Leading the 'Cats was sophomore Melissa Brown, who has found her way into the team's No. 1 spot. Brown's team-low score of 180 was good enough to tie for a third place finish in the tournament. Exon said Brown's work ethic throughout the summer and her experience has impacted her fall season success.
"I am pleased with the on and off the course decisions she's making," Exon said. "She's a very nice leader on and off the golf course."
Brown said she was very happy with the women's team throughout the fall season and anticipates the same success during the spring.
"I think we're going to keep shooting lower scores as a team, and I think we'll be very competitive to go to nationals," she said.
Exon said along with Brown, she was also impressed with the contributions from freshmen Dani Weimholt and Krista Yaktine and anticipates a solid team for the spring.
"All fall long they finished no worse than second," she said. "They had a wonderful fall season."