In case Minnesota fans needed reminding during Thursday night’s season opener against Eastern Illinois, Maxx Williams is still an athletic freak. In his first action since the Texas Bowl, the redshirt sophomore caught a Mitch Leidner pass, turned up field, leap-frogged over two diving Panthers and shouldered into a defender on his way to a 25-yard gain. The only issue is that this play came toward the end of the second quarter, marking the first time Williams had been targeted all game.
The Gophers women’s golf team continues to be overlooked in national rankings, even though it has placed in the top 10 in all but one tournament this season. Minnesota isn’t seen as a big threat heading into its biggest — and last — tournament of the season. And that’s just how the Gophers want it. “I think we’re flying in under the radar,” junior Anna Laorr said, “but I think that’s how we’ve been all season, and we like to be in that position.”
In the summer of 2011, the Gophers women’s golf team needed some stability amid a situation that seemed to worsen with each passing headline. A few months earlier, associate women’s head golf coach Katie Brenny had resigned, citing discrimination based on her sexual orientation. Brenny levied allegations against John Harris, former director of golf at the University. Minnesota’s golf program, scarred by the circumstances, found a solution in former LPGA Tour member Michele Redman.
The Gophers entered the Big Ten championships as one of the hottest teams in the conference but remained unranked in the NCAA rankings when they took the golf course in French Lick, Ind. To say that put a chip on their shoulder would be a bit of an understatement. “We’ve been trending in the right direction this entire season,” senior Jon Trasamar said. “We saw something like this coming even if everyone else didn’t.”
Jon Trasamar knew he needed a change heading into the final day of competition at the Rutherford Intercollegiate two weeks ago. Trasamar sat in a tie for 45th and was on the verge of an unfulfilling finish in one of the final tournaments before the Big Ten championships. “I was definitely disappointed with where I stood after the first day,” Trasamar said. “I didn’t feel like I scored very well.” In just one day’s work on the golf course, Trasamar elevated himself 26 spots to capture his fourth top-20 finish of the spring season.
As the sun shone high on a windy Friday afternoon, Jose Mendez reset his feet and took aim. As he lowered his eyes to the golf ball, the freshman reeled back the head of his driver and powered a shot that flew over the fence of the driving range, disappearing into the distance. “You’re going to hit someone,” junior Tyler Lowenstein said. That swing has become more and more feared around the Big Ten in Mendez’s first year on campus. And his success this season remains unparalleled in comparison to anyone head coach John Carlson has coached.
After navigating the latter half of the spring season with solid outings, the Gophers maintained that momentum at the Big Ten championships with a fifth-place finish in the team standings. “We held our own,” head coach Michele Redman said. “Hopefully the finish will be good enough for us to get into the regionals.” Michigan State and Ohio State shared the Big Ten title after both teams finished with a score of 895. Northwestern followed in third place.
In 2009, Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine dubbed the Pete Dye course in French Lick, Ind., as America’s Best New Public Golf Course. This weekend, members of the Gophers women’s golf team will challenge that course at the Big Ten championships. “You have to play it smart,” head coach Michele Redman said. “It’s tempting to maybe take a chance on a shot that you maybe should not. And I think my kids are smart. … Not everybody has that.”
Not even a 90-minute frost delay Sunday could cool off the Gophers men’s golf team, as it won the Rutherford Invitational after an impressive two-day performance. In the team’s final contest of the regular season, head coach John Carlson watched as his players dominate, winning the tournament by 12 strokes. “It was total team effort from start to finish this week,” Carlson said. Not only did the Gophers win the team competition, but freshman Jose Mendez’s 6-under-par won the individual competition.
A 9.933 would be an impressive score during the regular season, but it earned sophomore Lindsay Mable a fifth-place finish on vault at the NCAA meet. Mable and fellow sophomore Hanna Nordquist represented the Gophers at the NCAA individual finals in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend. They both qualified for the finals after a successful outing Friday night but came up a bit short Sunday afternoon.
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