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The Antelope

Golf team takes second in meet, season suspended

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The UNK golf team ditched the unpredictable weather of Nebraska and headed down to sunny Arizona for the SMSU Challenge. The Lopers impressed at the tournament finishing second out of seven teams.

“It is very encouraging considering none of us have seen green grass in a long time,” said Junior Nia Station. “We all made some mistakes in this first tournament and for placing as well as we did, it is highly motivating that we are only going to go up from here.”

As circumstances would have it, this was potentially the last meet for the Lopers this year due to cancellation of  NCAA Championships because of the spread of coronavirus.

The MIAA has followed suit and suspended their sports as well.

The only team UNK lost to was former MIAA foe Lindenwood University, who the Lopers tied with for sixth last season at the MIAA Championships.

Leading the charge for UNK was sophomore Faviola Gonzalez (Cayey, Puerto Rico) in third. On day one of the tournament, she scored a 75 and on day two an impressive 73. She was four over par for the entire tournament, one stroke behind McKenna Montgomery of Lindenwood for second.

“We have kept practicing hard to prepare for this season,” Gonzalez said. “After a few months without being able to play in a tournament, I feel very proud to have a great start to this season.”

Several strokes back of Gonzalez was Station (Omaha, Nebraska) in sixth place. On Monday she carded a respectful 78, before finishing Tuesday with a 74. For the tournament, she finished with a score of eight-over par.

“I only played as well as I did because I had a positive mentality while I was on the course and I think some of my teammates would say the same,” Station said. “We have the game, we have the skill, but mental resiliency is what’s going to get us to perform our best.”

Rounding out the top 10 was the Lopers senior Brandi Lemek (Doniphan, Nebraska). Like Station, she scored a 78 on day one. On day two she improved by two strokes with a 76, giving her a final score of ten over par.

In 19th and 21st place was Kaitlyn Howe (Wilsonville, Oregon) and Mikayla Frei (St. George, Utah). Howe was 17 over par for the tournament and Frei was 19 over par.

Freshman Paige Lucero (Kingman, Arizona) and Haylee O’Dey (Hastings, Nebraska) capped off the scoring for UNK. Lucero was 24th with a score of 23 over par and O’Dey was 40th at 36 over par.

The Lopers are using this tournament as a good starting point to begin the season. Their team score of 614 was the third lowest in school history.

“Although it was great that we placed well, I would like to see us put some better scores up there,” Station said. “We shot 614 for the third lowest 36-hole score in school history, and that is awesome but definitely not the best we can do. I want to see us play well against the other schools but mainly play well against ourselves.”

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