For the Iowa State Cyclones women's golf team, the spring season was off to a rough start. After traveling to Orlando, Florida, to play in the Central Florida Challenge, the Cyclones came home with a sixth place finish. But when the ladies traveled to Puerto Rico the next week, something changed.
Amelia Grohn, a sophomore, explained the challenges the team has overcome both physically and mentally.
"Over fall break, we took time to focus on our physical changes," Grohn said. "Many of us also had mental struggles we had to overcome that eventually made us better golfers."
Head coach Christie Martens, who has led the Cyclones for 14 years, believes the field strength changed from Florida to Puerto Rico.
"At the UCF challenge, everyone was a stroke or two away from each other. The competition was so close," Martens said. "When we got to Puerto Rico, we faced tougher competition and the field strength changed drastically."
Martens said her team is great at coming back from a tough round or even a challenging hole.
"We can bogey one hole, but we can turn right around and eagle the next," Martens said. "At the UCF challenge we started off weak, but at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic we started strong and didn't have to try and come back."
Maybe it was the tougher competition that helped the Iowa State women's golf team nab a second place finish against top ranked opponents, but Grohn says the team dynamic has changed.
"Our team is gelling great right now," Grohn said. "We like to have a lot of friendly competition and we really push each other to be the best we can be."
After their match in Houston on Monday, the Cyclones have a month off from competition. Coach Martens says her team will still be in play mode during this break.
"Over spring break we will be traveling to Phoenix and playing some courses out there," Martens said. "We will work on the little things to help us prepare for the last few matches of the season.
"The next match after spring break we will be facing great competition in California. Teams like Southern California, Texas and UCLA are all ranked in the top 15 and will be at the match."
The Cyclones have a challenging couple of months before they travel to Dallas to compete in the Big 12 Championships. According to Grohn, the next three matches will help prepare them for the big tournament.
"Each match we try and build off of our strengths and fix our weaknesses. We make it a priority to improve every week," Grohn said.
On Monday, Feb. 26, Martens and her team will travel to Houston to compete at The Dickson for two days.