After winning consecutive meets and receiving the GPAC Golfer of the Week award, it’s safe to assume that junior Kyle Stanek is feeling pretty confident about Northwestern’s season.
“Our whole team is really solid,” Stanek said. “Any one of us can beat each other on any given day. That’s just how good our team is. It’s not like one player is predominately the best out of any of us.”
Stanek placed first out of all golfers as NW won the Midland Fall Invite on Aug. 31 with a score of 71. Junior Ryan Kiewiet and sophomore Jay Monahan finished in a tie for fifth at 75, and senior Michael Dykema tied for ninth with a 76. Junior Neil Malenke finished tied for 13th with a 77.
On Sept. 6 and 7, the Raiders won the Siouxland Invite at their home course, Landsmeer, in Orange City.
NW’s golfers made up the entire top four of the invite, as Kiewiet (143), Malenke (144), Monahan (145) and Dykema (146) led the pack for the Raiders. Stanek rounded out the top 10 with a 149.
After winning the Midland Invite, Stanek was named GPAC Golfer of the Week for his efforts.
“It was a really good confidence boost for me,” Stanek said. “I’ve gotten a bunch of second-place finishes, but this was my first win, so I was really happy about that. It was definitely a good day.”
The Raider men have started the season strong, and according to Stanek, there’s no reason to expect them to slow down.
“We are going to be as good as we were last year, if not better.” Stanek said. “We didn’t lose anybody, and last year we won the conference, so that was a big confidence booster.”
Stanek also pointed to NW’s homefield advantage as a reason why they will perform well.
“We have a really good opportunity to win the GPAC this year since we have home field advantage,” Stanek said. “In golf that’s a huge advantage, knowing the course and the way the greens are going to break.”
The NW women’s golf team has also had a successful start to its season, winning the Midland Invite on Aug. 31 and placing second in the Morningside Invite on Sept. 7.
Most notably, the Raiders finished the first GPAC qualifying meet in second place on Tuesday, currently behind Dakota Wesleyan by two strokes.
“If we play our best, we know we can get first,” said sophomore Emma Wynja, “but Dakota Wesleyan is a good team, and we want to stay close to them and keep ourselves in the running for the last meet.”
Wynja led the Raiders on the afternoon at the qualifier, and finished tied for first with an 83. Junior Taylor Kline is in third place for the Raiders after shooting an 85.
At the Midland Invite, junior Jess Locker and Wynja tied for third with an 87 to lead all Raiders. Kline also tied for ninth, as the Raiders took the meet by one stroke over home team Midland.
At the Morningside Invite, the Raiders finished one stroke ahead of third-place Morningside. Wynja led the Raiders by finishing fifth, followed by sophomore Betsy Wallin in sixth and Kline in seventh to give NW three in the top-10.
The GPAC Qualifer will resume on Oct. 3, in Lincoln, Neb.