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A history making beginning with an unexpected ending

BY HILARY LOUDON | NOVEMBER 04, 2010 7:20 AM

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Through the ups and downs of the 2010 fall season for the Iowa women's golf season, one thing always remained consistent — the expectation to do better next time.

Even in the times of disappointing finishes, when asked how the next tournament would go, the mutual response was that they were going to do better.

All squad members entered the season excited to begin competition at the Chip-N-Club Invitational and set a goal to finish in the top half of the pack.

They didn't.

While questioned about how the next performance would go at the Hawkeye Invitational, they didn't let their seventh-place finish play a role in their responses. The overall consensus was that they were going to win.

They did.

The Hawkeyes credited the victory as their biggest team accomplishment. For Chelsea Harris, Laura Cilek, and Lauren Forbes, it was a great display of what they were capable of individually. All finished in the top 10.

"I was very proud of placing eighth at our home tournament," Forbes said. "I feel my biggest achievement through the season was improving my scoring average by over two strokes from last season. That is a significant difference in just a matter of months."

The following weekend at the Badger Invitational, the Hawkeyes' confidence from the previous weekend carried them to a third-place finish, a record-setting one. They kept all three rounds of scoring below 300 and tallied the lowest three-round score in Iowa women's golf history with an 894. Again, Cilek and Harris used the course as a stage to display their talents, sharing a seventh-place finish. Harris said her final two rounds of that tournament was the highlight of her season.

But with the conclusion of the Badger Invitational came the conclusion of the history-making season.

The squad began to struggle.

Two weeks later, the Hawks competed in the Lady Northern Invitational in Chicago. Heading into the tournament, team morale was high, but the Hawkeyes were unable to extend their stint of top-five performances to three and finished 11th with a score of 918. The highest finisher for the Hawkeyes was Harris (tied for 34th). It wasn't the performance Iowa expected, but the golfers didn't allow it to break them.

Heading into the season's final tournament — the Onion Creek Challenge — the Hawkeyes expressed excitement for their final fall competition. They all spoke of the importance of ending it on a high note and shaking off the disappointment of the Lady Northern Invitational. It appeared as though they couldn't, and they finished in 11th again, carding a 914. The highlight of the tournament was the seventh-place finish of sophomore Kristi Cardwell.

"I don't have any disappointments in myself or the team for the season," Cardwell said. "We always tried our hardest. I just wish we could have finished out a great fall season out with a top-three finish."

It wasn't the ending they wanted, but the first-place and third-place finishes are what the Hawkeyes should keep at the forefront of their thoughts as they head into winter practice. They've proven to have the capabilities, and for the spring, it'll turn into a matter of displaying those capabilities consistently.

"I think we half-met our expectations for the season, but we definitely are ready to work hard over the winter to make the spring exciting for our seniors," Harris said. "The winter is when we can make major changes in our games because of the time off … It's mostly a time to focus on mechanics.

"As far as the spring goes, we want success obviously, but we also want to have a lot of fun for our three seniors."


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