With their first invitational of the season this upcoming weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, the Cyclone men's golf team feels the excitement growing.
But there is a sense of comfort for the Cyclones knowing they've been through this before just last year.
Not only does the team return all eight golfers from last year, their schedule is identical, starting with the Badger Invitational.
Coach Andrew Tank, as well as the players, understand that it's important to not get set in their ways.
"It could go two ways, we could just be stuck comparing to last year, or we have this opportunity to see how we can grow and improve throughout the year," said Tank when talking about the schedule.
This is the first year in Tank's tenure that all eight golfers return along with the tournaments all being the same.
"It's exciting to get going again, it feels like it's been a while," said senior Sam Vincent.
The Cyclones are hoping to build upon last year, and it will certainly be easier to see the improvement meet-to-meet.
The golfers are ready to show off what they've been working on over the summer, or even before then.
Vincent is looking to build off of last season and have a successful senior year, saying that he became a better player last year.
"I just didn't show it off with my results, so I just have to learn to put it all together," Vincent said.
The team knows that it will take all 8 players playing at their best in order for them to really develop from last year, but not having to break in new golfers will give them the unique opportunity to solely focus on bettering themselves as golfers, while also pushing their teammates to achieve more.
"I'm hoping they all have breakthrough seasons; I'm looking to everybody to just improve a little bit more and see where it goes," Tank said.
He knows exactly what he's getting from the team, and being able to have senior leaders such as Tripp and Sam is huge in ushering in the next generation of leaders, including junior Lachlan Barker.
"I've never really felt the pressure to be a leader before this year, but I already feel like one now," Barker said. "Hopefully [I'll] learn from the seniors while also helping them out, then falling into their shoes next year."
The Cyclones are certainly looking for seniors Tripp Kinney and Sam Vincent to lead the team this year. While leadership won't be necessary in making any new golfers feel welcome, the two senior leaders have said they feel ready to take this team to new heights.
Team camaraderie is certainly present, and with multitudes of experience and familiarity the team might expect to make lots of progress throughout the season. The key is not getting complacent. If the Cyclones are able to utilize their unique situation that brings with it opportunity to grow, it will hopefully benefit them at the end of the season as individuals — as well as their team aspirations come Big 12 and NCAA championship play.
"If we do it right, and don't get complacent, it can set up for one of the best years Iowa State's ever had," Barker said.