Sep 022010
 
Authors: Nick Childs

Amid of all the commotion and excitement for the Rocky Mountain Showdown, a new golf season is on the horizon.

The men and women’s golf teams have high hopes for their squads this year.
Both programs enjoyed success last season, but it is going to be different this year because of the many new faces on each roster, said their respective head coaches.

The men’s team comes into this fall as the defending Mountain West Conference champions.

It aims to win another conference title in the spring, but for right now, players are only focused on their first event of the fall and will take it week-by-week from there, said Jamie Bermel, the team’s head coach.

The most exciting part of this fall is the new freshmen and getting them acquainted with what it is like to play collegiate golf, he said.

The Rams’ young roster features three freshmen.

While the team recruits freshmen in hopes that they will contribute right away, that isn’t always the case.

“(For the fall) I want to see the team get better each week. If we can do that, we will have a successful year,” Bermel said.

However, he has much higher expectations and goals for his two team leaders: Ryan Peterson and Zahkai Brown.

After losing three of its top five players, Bermel said, the team is younger and less experienced, which is why Peterson and Brown are so important.

“They will have to play well every week for us to be successful,” he said.

Ryan Peterson, who is a marketing major, is the defending conference champion and the only senior on the Rams’ roster this fall.

Peterson doesn’t feel a lot of added pressure this year, saying, “(The freshman) can play and will step in.”

His goals for the fall off the course include being a leader and helping Bermel get the freshmen used to being on the team, he said.

On the course, Peterson said, he wants the team to be in contention every week and win a couple tournaments.

Peterson described his time on the CSU golf team as an “honor” and recognized all the people that he has had the privilege to play with. He thinks this year will be no different.

The men’s golf season will begin as the football team’s will: A showdown against CU-Boulder in the Colorado Cup on Sept. 13 in Holyoke.

CSU won the event last year.

The women are beginning their season in a similar situation; their roster includes four freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors.

Since the team is so young, this fall is going to be as much about gaining experience and confidence as it is about improving their golf game, said Angie Hopkins, head coach for the women’s golf team.

Leadership from the women’s side, Hopkins said, will come from Brianna Espinoza, a junior and most experienced member of the team.

Hopkins believes that Espinoza is ready to step into that role, citing her score of 69 at their first round of qualifying.

The goal this season for the women is to improve on last year, to keep getting better, Hopkins said.

The experience that they will gain in the fall, she said, will be vital for their success within the Mountain West Conference in the spring.

The women will begin their season with their only home tournament of the fall: The Ptarmigan/Ram Fall Classic on Sept. 13 and 14.

After the home event, they will make trips to New Mexico, Florida, Nevada and California, among others.

With all of the traveling, these student-athletes are gone about 50 days a year, and they still managed to have the highest GPA among the CSU athletic teams last year.

The team stresses academics because “these girls are here to get a degree, and it’s a privilege to play golf,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said academic success has almost become a competition among the members of the women’s golf team.

Sports reporter Nick Childs can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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