By Jasmine Pankratz – Horizon Sports Editor & Kendra Burkey – Horizon Advisor
Golf may be low on the list of “most valued” sports for those who don’t understand the game. But to sophomore Christian Martin, golf at Hesston has meant more than he ever imagined. When Hesston brought back golf this year after a 16-year absence, Martin jumped at the chance.
“I ran cross country last year but have developed injuries that prevented me from competing,” said Martin. “Golf gives me and many others the opportunity to compete again.”
September 17-20, Martin and the rest of the golf team got that opportunity with their first meet in Bartlesville (Okla). Hesston was the smallest team represented, competing against ten other teams and finished ninth overall. Individual results were mixed, with each of the seven doing well at least one day but not staying consistent for the other day of the tournament.
In light of the rough start, Martin said the team decided on a mantra for the weekend:
“What happens in Bartlesville, stays in Bartlesville,” he said.
But new head coach Chris Frantz is more forthcoming. He says their ranking has little to do with the team’s’ potential.
“This was a huge lesson for them in the mental game department,” said Frantz. “Heat indexes were close to over 100 the two days during the tournament. Keeping mental focus is tough to do in that environment. I think this tournament will only help them in seeing what aspects of their game needs improvement.”
Hesston College had a golf program from 1996-2000 but ended due to budget cuts. Golf became a club for two years after that before being closed altogether. According to Mark Landes, Vice President of Finance and Auxiliary Services, golf was brought back as a low-cost program that would help grow enrollment. It also fits in with the culture of the town.
“Hesston is a golfing community and it’s nice for the college to represent itself and the town with this program,” said Landes.
Both Martin and Frantz say golf provides an additional avenue for Hesston sports fans.
“It gives the community another opportunity to support the college,” said Martin, “We’ve appreciated supporting donors backing us up and appreciating us.”
“Already while we have been practicing at the course daily, we have had many locals and golf patrons talk to us and see how we are doing. It’s a great feeling to feel so supported.”
Since their first meet, the team has gone on to play in a dual with Bethel (North Newton) and competed in another tournament in Springfield (MO). Coach Frantz has high hopes.
“I feel like we have a very talented team, and can do well in tournaments,” he said. “The potential for these guys is limitless. They are working hard at getting better.”