Athletes train for the opportunity to represent their team, sometimes for hours each day. It’s that dedication that drives improvement, that drives success.
Spring sport athletes felt the pain of losing the entire 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic late last month. For the Chaska girls golf team, primed for one of its best team seasons in the last decade, it didn’t seem fair. But it is reality.
“We know many of you had worked hard on your golf skills in the off-season and were anticipating a fun and great season. Please know we miss you all and wish we could be on a golf course with you each week,” the Hawks coaching staff said.
A TEAM LEADER
Abby Nelson, one of three seniors in the Chaska girls golf program, would have been playing for her sixth consecutive season. A JV player while in middle school, coaches knew come ninth grade she was going to crack the varsity line-up.
Nelson played in 30 golf meets over the last three years, missing just three meets total in that time.
“We honor your commitment, Abby, to the game and your team. Abby has great leadership skills and was a captain all four years of her high school varsity play,” Chaska golf coach Pam Schmillen, with words also from assistant Mike Leonard, said.
Nelson, who celebrates her 18th birthday on May 14, was all-conference her sophomore year and all-conference honorable mention last spring.
“Abby is a very compassionate person with a great work ethic, always striving to do her best. We wish we could have had this last year to coach you Abby. While we know you will be playing competitive hockey in college, we also know you love the game of golf and will continue to enjoy playing it your whole life. We wish you continued success at St. Benedict and in your pursuit of a nursing/PA degree. The medical world will be lucky to have you,” Schmillen said.
“From all the crazy bus rides, the Ryder Cup tradition, and being able to develop alongside amazing teammates, these are memories I will forever hold dear,” Nelson said. “Another special memory of mine was being able to play alongside my younger sister, Avery, for one of her first varsity meets. I will never forget the days of running off the seventh hole at Dahlgreen, jumping into my mom’s car, and then getting changed into my hockey equipment in the backseat speeding down 212 to make it to hockey practice on time.”
LOWERING HER SCORE
Hannah Marsnik, in her third year in the golf program, turned the corner as a junior, earning Metro West All-Conference honors. She posted a top-four score in the line-up in seven of nine meets in 2019, including an 89 on the Chaska Town Course.
“A truly great year! Hannah was a senior captain this year and with her positive attitude and leadership skills we were looking forward to another great year,” Schmillen said. “While we were not able to finish your senior year of golf Hannah, we have wonderful memories of watching you improve and succeed through the last three years. We wish you continued success at Winona State University and in all your future endeavors. We know you will enjoy playing golf your entire life. One more time: Hannah Marsnik on the tee!”
Marsnik said meets were her favorite because she got to meet many other golfers from other teams.
“Although the 2020 season has been unfortunately cut short, I still look back at my time on the team fondly. Practices at the driving range, putting contests and chipping games remain a highlight for me, and, of course the meets,” Marsnik said. “Going to captain’s practices at Braemar Golf Dome has improved my game a lot, and I really enjoy it because it gives me a chance to connect with the girls a little more and it really makes our team feel special to me.”
DETERMINED TO BE BETTER
Kalli Kloos traded in a softball for a golf ball and tee as a junior last spring. The improvement she had from the first day playing with the team at the Par 30 until the end of last season was something the coaches admired.
“She was determined to get better and is very coachable, so she was able to learn and improve a lot. Kalli is a great athlete with an extremely good work ethic. The coaches were looking forward to seeing her play and compete this year. Keep playing this great game Kalli, you will love it! Best of luck to you in your future,” Schmillen said.
Kloos will attend the College of St. Benedict and plans in majoring in either exercise science, or something in the business field as she hopes to pursue a career in the health care field.
“Golfing was a little bit hard to adapt to because I was so used to swinging a bat instead of a club, and I spent quite a while trying to fix my swing. I wouldn’t say I am the best golfer in the world, but I did improve a lot over the course of the season, and began to feel more confident when playing,” Kloos said. “I am so sad that I will not be able to play this season because I was really looking forward to playing after practicing quite a bit in the summer and golfing with friends and family.”