NIACC women set to open season at Graceland Invitational

Courtney Tusler (front) returns for her sophomore season.
Courtney Tusler (front) returns for her sophomore season.

MASON CITY - Plenty of experience returns for the NIACC women's golf team this season.

The NIACC women's team brings back four sophomores, including a pair of golfers (Courtney Tusler and Brooke Maasch) that qualified for the national tournament.

NIACC opens its season this weekend at the Graceland University Invitational in Maryville, Mo. The two-day tournament starts Friday at noon with Saturday's second round starting at 9 a.m. on the Mozingo Lake Golf Course.

Tusler placed 90th at last year's national tournament in Braselton, Ga. with a low round of 92 and Maasch placed 113th with a low round of 96.

"I think they realize what it takes to get themselves in that position to have a chance to go again this year," NIACC coach Chris Frenz said of Tusler and Maasch.

Frenz, who has had at least one woman qualify for the national tournament in his first 11 seasons as coach of the Lady Trojans, said his four sophomores all learned about course management during their first season of collegiate golf.

"Positioning your golf ball is critical and I think all of them have learned that you have to play smart," the coach said. "We need to work on our short games more because I think that could cost all of them around five strokes a round.

"If they can get their scores consistently in the mid to upper 80s, I like their chances of making it to the national tournament in Mesa, Ariz."

The four-round NJCAA Region XI tournament is slated April 20-21 and April 27-28 in Ankeny and the NJCAA Division I national tournament is slated for May 14-17 in Mesa, Ariz.

Other returning sophomores for the Lady Trojans are Katelyn Loegering and Kelli Wilson. They will be joined by freshmen Ashley Alert, Sydney Fullerton and Morgan Luecht.

The Lady Trojans played in a few tournaments in the fall to help them adjust to collegiate golf.

"It was absolutely helpful," Frenz said. "The biggest question a freshman has coming in to college golf is do they belong. With the three freshmen I have, they definitely belong.

"Their attitude toward the game, working hard to get better and their overall desire to do the best they can is awesome. I'm expecting really good results from them this spring and I think they are too."

After the Graceland Invitational, the Lady Trojans play in the Iowa Central Spring Invite on March 31 in Ankeny. They also play in the Iowa Wesleyan Invite on April 3 and host the NIACC Invite on April 16.

"Our league is tough," Frenz said, "but if we play like we're capable I definitely believe we have a chance for the team or individuals to qualify for the national tournament.

"It's tough because our season is so short so they have to be playing well pretty much right out of the gates."