Also See: Baseball Opens Crucial Big 12 Series with Texas Tech
'CATS HEAD TO BIG 12 WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Mark Janssen
Kansas State women's golf coach Kristi Knight admits, "On paper, it doesn't look like we have much of a chance, but the game's not played on paper."
Instead, the Big 12 Women's Golf Championships will be played at the Club At Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo., starting today and concluding on Sunday.
"Golf is a unique sports in that it has two seasons that count as one, but you also have that three to four month layoff in the middle of the season before cranking it back up in early February," said Knight. "We got off to a rough start in the spring, which can lead to pressing and forcing, but we have maintained a positive attitude. It's just become a matter of surviving the days when you're not striking the ball very well. We haven't done that as consistently in the spring as we did in the fall."
Knight finds reason for optimism in that her Wildcats are coming off a fifth-place performance in the 15-team Indiana Invitational, where Paige Osterloo scored an eighth-place finish with a 9-over score of 153 for the two-day event. Also in the top 20 were Ami Storey and Whitney Pyle in 12th and 19th with respective totals of 10-over and 12-over par.
Rounding out the K-State Big 12 team will be Gianna Misenhelter and Hanna Roos.
Osterloo has the low team average for the spring at 77.14, followed by Pyle at 77.45, while Storey and Misenhelter are in the 78s, and Roos at 81.33, who won the fifth position through a qualifying round.
For the total season, Pyle has the low average (76.92), followed by Osterloo (77.17), Misenhelter (77.35), Storey (77.72) and Roos (80.0).
"With us, it's going to take a group effort," said Knight. "I do think that we have a couple members of this team could finish in the top 10, but we need to post three real solid scores, plus a pretty good fourth in each round.
"We do have young ladies who have a good feeling about this golf course because we posted some good numbers in the fall," said Knight. "Now, we just need to focus on the positives. We can't dwell on what hasn't happened this spring, but instead we want to focus on the things that can propel you forward."
Knight calls the Big 12 "a tough league where anything can happen." She adds, "A top eight or nine finish would be nice, but the competitive part of me says never to put a cap on what you're thinking. If we play like I've seen us play, there are four to six teams I think we can beat. You just never know."
The most recent polls have Iowa State at No. 21, Texas No. 23 and Oklahoma No. 25, but as Knight says, "There are two or three other teams in the next 10 and in our sport that is really tight."
With weekend rain in the forecast, Knight said, "We're going to approach this like three mini-tournaments. You never know when the tournament is going to end, so we need to make sure we can do what we can do every day and take care of business."
KSU's BIG 12 HISTORY: The Wildcats will be trying to improve on a 10th place Big 12 finish last season.
After placing in one of the bottom three positions in each of the first five years of the Big 12, K-State upped itself to ninth in 2001, and then sixth in 2002 and 2003. K-State's highest ever finish was a fourth in 2009.
The Wildcats' highest ever individual placings have been Christine Boucher, who was second in 2002, Miranda Smith in fifth in 2003 and Boucher seventh in 2004 when she was also the league's Player of the Year.
K-STATE'S BIG 12 TEAM
• Gianna Misenhelter, Fr., Overland Park, Kan.
• Piage Osterloo, Jr., Rapid City, S.D.
• Whitney Pyle, Soph., Blue Mound, Kan.
• Ami Storey, Jr., Woodlands Park, UK
• Hanna Roos, Soph., Uppsala, Sweden
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.