Manhattan Golf finishes Season strong, takes 7th place at MAACs

Colby Norton shoots +9 at MAACs, including -1 under par on Day 2. GOJASPERS/COURTESY

By Andrew Mannion, Asst. Sports Editor

The Jaspers golf team took on the MAAC Conference Championships last weekend, finishing in a tie for seventh place alongside Canisius College.  

The Jaspers improved their score drastically from last season’s tournaments, improving from a +75 in 2022 to a +38 in 2023. This success was noted by the team. Senior golfer Jimmy Escoto spoke on the good rounds the team played this year.

“I think when [Coach Prokop] was talking about those specific holes wise I think if we took out those holes I mean, our team probably couldn’t have played better,” Escoto said. “We really executed early on and it was just again those couple holes, couple shots here and there that affected our tournament as a whole but I mean, we took a lot of good things out of it.”

This improvement comes not even a year after Coach Keith Prokop was hired as the team’s new head coach in August 2022. With his first season and MAAC Championship Tournament wrapped up, he expressed his gratitude for how the team welcomed him in his first season.

“You never know what you’re going to walk into when you’re walking into something brand new, but the team really did welcome me with open arms,” Prokop said. “[The players] were extremely coachable. It was honestly a blessing to walk into what I did. Every single player on the team was very responsive to what I was talking about, very responsive to coaching, and really just had the willpower to get better. This is something I expected at the division one level but I’m at a little loss for words of just how well they actually welcomed me with everything.”

Now with the season wrapped up, and the team taking big steps toward successful results, the team considers their expectations for themselves to be very high. Junior Colby Norton commented on his expectations for the team. 

“I would say they’re very high after this year,” Norton said “We improved so much since last year, but we got a big recruiting class coming in. It looks like we got a lot of good talent coming in next year and then, of course, we got some guys building up confidence for next year after they were on the team this year, so we’re excited about that. This summer especially is big for everybody playing wise, staying competitive, and just keep improving. Get ready for next year.”

Coach Prokop shares similar beliefs. He spoke of his excitement for the combination of talent already on the team, as well as the incoming talent from this upcoming recruit class. 

“I already know what I have with the six guys that are returning, I know what kind of chemistry they have,” Prokop said. “I’m also already excited about those six that I’m bringing in. Obviously, you never know what to expect. Some freshmen you figure out on the fly, you’re trying to figure out their swings and their games and how they’re going to be able to adjust to college … I’m really excited for our future here. I’d think we’re just with the senior leaders that I have this year, my juniors that are going to become seniors next year. I think we’re in a really good spot as a program for sure.”

The Jaspers will look to build on their success next season. They will have a mix of new recruits and returning players that will help that mission. Only time will tell how the team performs next season, but the future’s looking bright.