Doane’s men’s golf team is sitting third overall in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and is only two shots away from being second. In order to qualify for nationals, the team will have to finish first in the conference.
Conference play for the team kicks off on April 23, but just last week the team had a conference preview meet. This gave all of the GPAC teams a chance to see where they stood amongst the rest of the competition.
At the end of the season, the team’s performances from both semesters will be taken into account.
Head Coach Myron Parsley said Doane played 36 holes in the fall and 36 holes this semester. He said the 72 holes would be combined for all GPAC teams and whichever one had the lowest score at the end, qualified for nationals. One individual GPAC player can also qualify themselves if their score is the lowest of all the individuals in the GPAC.
Parsley said the team’s biggest rivals this year included Northwestern College, Morningside College and Concordia University. Morningside is currently ranked 23 in the country. Parsley said they’ve held their own against the Mustangs so far this season.
“We’ve beat them three times this year,” Parsley said. “They’re rated 23 in the nation, which is significant. A top 25 team is very good.”
He said the competition in NAIA golf (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes) is comparable to that of Division II and smaller Division I schools, hence why being a top 25 team means so much.
Sophomore Roger Sack said the team has looked good all season and is confident heading into GPAC play. However, he said the recent weather has made the season a bit of a rollercoaster.
“Hopefully as it starts to warm up we get a little more consistency being able to play outside more,” Sack said. “We’ve been indoor and outdoor, it’s kind of just been kind of hectic.”
Sack said when the weather doesn’t cooperate, the team practices in their indoor facility in Fuhrer Fieldhouse. The facility is on the top floor of the field house and features a net and simulator that records the speed and trajectory of the players’ shots. However, Sack preferred practicing outside as it gave the team the feel of an actual meet.
For senior Mack Alspaugh, nationals has always been the goal. He said that the team has not made it to nationals for as long as he’s been at Doane. However, Alspaugh said that this year could be the one.
“I expect us to be competing for the team victory for GPAC," Alspaugh said. "With this I expect everyone on the team to give 110 percent every time they step on the course. We are a quality team and I expect everyone to be their best.”