Eight Iowa Conference championships
PELLA—The Central College women’s golf team opens it spring season in Arizona Thursday, playing host to the Dutch Desert Shootout at the Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park.
The par-72 course is 5,806 yards and a new challenge for the squad.
“None of us have seen the course before but I believe it’s a more traditional course,” coach Tim Wilkinson said. “The fairways are fairly level and there’s some water and sand.”
The competition is also unfamiliar. The Dutch take on Division II Grand Canyon University (Ariz.), NAIA Arizona Christian University and Division I Bradley University.
Seven golfers will travel for Central: senior Sarah Paulson (Ottumwa), senior Ali Miller (Davenport, North HS), junior Kaurie Kincaid (Knoxville), junior Ashley Smith (Johnsburg, Ill.), freshman Kelsey Van Tasell (Pella), freshman Karissa Rempe (Pella) and freshman transfer Taylor Hill (Treynor).
Paulson, Miller, Kincaid, Smith and Van Tasell competed in the Iowa Conference Tournament this fall, securing the squad’s fourth consecutive second-place finish. The top five this spring could have a new look.
“We don’t know for sure who our top five will include,” Wilkinson said. “Taylor could easily find her way there but we don’t know. Hopefully we’ll get an idea earlier in the week.”
Before Thursday’s tournament, Central plays three additional courses at the Ocotillo Golf Resort, Palm Valley Golf Club and Bear Creek Golf Complex.
“The only course we’ve seen before is Ocotillo,” Wilkinson said. “Three of our golfers played it on another spring break trip. It has a ton of water.”
Wilkinson is looking forward to the opportunity to play and to connect as a team.
“It’s a chance to get outside and for the players to really bond and create lasting memories as a team,” he said. “There’ll be some downtime and we’ll also take in a spring training game.”
Wilkinson is also anxious to see the results of a productive offseason.
“The team has been getting after it in the 6 a.m. strength and conditioning workouts,” he said. “And they’ve been working hard for the two or three weeks we’ve been hitting. It’s tedious being inside but we’re looking forward to the trip and seeing what we’re capable of this spring.”
Follow the Dutch—The squad will post daily updates about the trip on the women’s golf blog at http://blogs.central.edu/golfwomens.