The team attributes some of these recent results to poor weather and windy conditions at the
event. GOJASPERS/ COURTESY
By Nicole Fitzsimmons, Senior writer
The Manhattan College men’s golf team is currently reflecting after competing in their most recent event and is preparing to continue growing at their upcoming Battle of Rum Pointe.
At the South Jersey Kick-Off event, the team started off their season by finishing in 7th place as a team. The team attributes some of these recent results to poor weather and windy conditions at the event.
Head coach Keith Prokop thinks it is important to give every member of the team an opportunity to stop, reflect and improve after every event.
“I kind of built the schedule as we had the first tournament and then we had the reflection period,” Prokop said. “So we had spring break to be able to kind of take a deep look at each individual’s games to be able to figure out what each person has to work on because golf is very different than every other sport. They [team members] were saying it’s very individual based, so I have to kind of have different attack plans for each individual. Yes, we still practice as a team, but every single person has their own attributes that they have to work on. So, we had that reflection period.”
According to GoJaspers, Junior Colby Norton was the top finisher for MC, finishing in a tie for 14th with a score of 78 (+6). Though he is proud of this start for their season, he anticipates there is room to grow more personally and as a team.
“One [personal goal] was to have a bogey-free round,” Norton said. “I started my goals at the beginning of the fall season, so I think I need two more under-par rounds to reach that goal. And then, a couple of top tens, hopefully, and then just anything to help the team get up there on a leaderboard.”
Two members of the team were able to move up the leaderboard on the second day of the tournament, including freshman Dimitri Mihelakos and graduate student Jimmy Escoto, finishing in a tie at 31st.
On the second day of the two-day tournament, Mihelakos tied for 31st by advancing eight spots, according to GoJaspers.
“It felt amazing,” Mihelakos said. “After the round, I went to the coach and I was really, really disappointed with how my punting was that day, and it was honestly one of the worst punting days of my life. So, I went to coach after and we got some extra work after the round and the next day, so it didn’t happen again. And just as Colby said, I felt like I left a lot out there. But, it was really nice to kind of just have that little come back the next day and, you know, move forward because I remember at the end of the first day, we were all like we started fresh and we’re like just move forward and it was good to do that.”
Jimmy Escoto similarly advanced a few spots during that second day, moving to tie Mihelakos at 31st.
“I didn’t even know but I played better the second day for sure,” Escoto said. “Also, I think it was more of just going out there trying to get better. Every shot and every hole, trying to just warm up for our season and see what we need to work on and what we could do better and it was obvious to all of us that our short game was what we needed to work on to get ready for the end of the season, which is MACC.
In preparation for the MACC later in the season, Coach Prokop is planning to grow with every event with attention to every member in order to thrive as a team.
“Yes, we still practice as a team, but every single person has their own attributes that they have to work on,” Prokop said. “So, we had that reflection period. We’re gonna have two events this in the head-to-head versus Wagner, and we’re gonna have another reflection period and then we’re gonna have three straight, so hopefully, we catch some fire those three tournaments, but that’s why we built the schedule that way to be able to have those reflection periods and to be able to attack the weaknesses and make sure the strength remains strength at the same time to be able to peek at that right time, which is again those last three events leading into that MACC Championship.”
The members of the team similarly are excited to grow individually but are also excited to cheer each other on and continue growing as a team.
“I’m hoping that we can continue with the success that we’ve been having, hopefully just kind of taking everything from the spring break trip to be able to come to this tournament,” Norton said. “I want the guys to kind of fully trust in their games and start to develop that trust starts to be able to reflect properly because reflection is huge in our program here to be able to understand what’s going on not only after the round but internally during the round, not get frustrated and to be able to identify what’s happening and to be able to fix it in round as opposed to letting things escalate.”
On March 25, the men’s golf team is competing in the Battle at Rum Pointe for their second event of the season.
“Don’t count us out yet,” Escoto told The Quadrangle.