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David Boyce | | May 15, 2016

Team unity helps Augustana reach DII championship

  Augustana won its second straight and fifth overall region championship.

The Augustana women’s golf program brings more than an impressive resume to the NCAA Division II Golf Championship.

“Our team bond is so great,” said sophomore Kali Trautman. “We push each other every day because we care about each other and we want to see each other be successful individually and as a team. It is so important that when we are out there, we are playing for each other more than we are playing for ourselves. I think that carries over to success.”

The Vikings are having another outstanding season and finished first for the second year in a row at the Central Super Regional. Trautman took first in the individual medalist round.

A year ago, as a freshman, Sierra Langlie placed first at regional. This year Langlie tied for sixth along with her teammate, junior Marisa Toivonen, who missed last season because of an ACL injury.

“She is an upperclassman who leads,” Augustana golf coach Peggy Kirby said about Toivonen. “She gets everybody going as well. She gives everybody more confidence by having another strong golfer in there.

“They have been playing with a lot of confidence and determination. They don’t want to lose.”

Kirby added that the players want to do better than a year ago when they finished 11th at the NCAA Division II Golf Championship. They have every right to be confident when they start Wednesday at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, Colorado.

Last fall at the NCAA Women Golf Tournament Preview at CommonGround, Augustana finished third out of 20 teams, many of whom are the top programs in the country. In addition, Langlie won and was the only golfer to finish under par. Her 69 on the second day, gave her a score of 142, which was two under par.

“We do have depth on the team,” Langlie said. “If we have a bad day or a bad shot, we know we can count on our teammates to pick it up for us. It is so nice to have a team that strives to be the best.

“I think we are really consistent about our attitudes. We are always looking on the bright side of things and always keeping everything positive. That has a big impact on our outcomes.”

Another golfer contributing to the success of the Vikings is junior Jordan Bormann. Bormann and sophomore Emily Israelson tied for 23rd at the Central Super Regional.

Bormann, a pre-med major, is also excelling in the classroom. She recently was one of 16 student-athletes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to receive the Butch Raymond Scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship recognizes student-athletes in the conference who show excellence in the classroom and in competition.

“One thing about Augustana University is you have to be a really good student,” Kirby said. “All my golfers work so hard. Jordan is very meticulous. She has a 3.92. She has improved so much in golf. Last week she had a career best of 70 at regional. She worked very hard on her golf game. She wants it really bad, too.”

“But the amount of time she puts in at the library on her studies is really remarkable. It is really unbelievable what Jordan has done at Augustana. She is working on a research project this summer in Boston. She presented a big project in San Diego. She is one of the top pre-med students at Augustana. It is truly a credit to her dedication.”

The fun aspect about the NCAA Division II Golf Championship this year is it is part of the Division II Festival in Denver. The spring sports festival happens every four years, bringing together student-athletes in many spring sports to one location to compete for national titles.

Besides women and men’s golf, there will be men’s and women’s tennis, softball and women’s lacrosse. The Opening Ceremony is Monday at Mile High Stadium in Denver and the Closing Ceremony is Saturday evening.

MORE: Complete schedule for DII Festival in Denver

All the student-athletes will have an opportunity to participate in community engagement activities in and around Denver.

“I think it is going to be a great experience,” Trautman said. “I am very excited to see a lot of the stories from the other teams. I think it is a great celebration of collegiate athletes and athletics in general. I am very excited to be a part of it.”

Kirby is thrilled her players are able to participate in the spring festival.

“The NCAA does such a great job of making it very special and great experience and something we will never forget,” Kirby said. “I get so excited when these students get on that first tee and the NCAA makes them feel so welcome and they are so proud of them of what they have accomplished. It really is great to see.”

Along the way, the golfers learn a few things by playing golfers from other parts of the country.

“It is really interesting and fun to watch the other players from all over the country,” Langlie said. “They come from different cultures. It is a lot of fun.”

Looking to repeat

The University of Indianapolis is looking like it is ready to repeat as the NCAA Division II women’s golf champion. The Greyhounds won the East Super Regional by 17 strokes for their fifth straight regional title.

Sophomore Paxton DeHaven placed third, freshman Katharina Kellich took sixth and sophomore Kylie Raines tied for eighth.

Kellich is having an outstanding season in her first year in collegiate competition. She earned freshman of the year and player of the year in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. She was just the fourth player in GLVC and the first Indianapolis player to win player of the year and rookie of the year in the same season.

Coach Brent Nicoson earned GLVC coach of the year and senior Brooke Beegle made the ALL-GLVC team.

Another team to watch

Tarleton State heads into the NCAA Division II Golf Championship brimming with confidence after its record-breaking performance at the West Super Regional.

The TexAnns’ three-day score of 876 shattered their previous regional record of 893, established last year. Leading the way was senior Isabel Jimenez-Perea, who won the individual West regional title.

In the fall, Tarleton State had success at CommonGround Golf Course, finishing first by seven strokes in the NCAA Women Golf Tournament Preview tournament. Jimenez-Perea finished in a four-way tie for second.