January 7, 1997
PULLMAN, Wash. - Frozen tundra is a catch phrase made for football, applicable to soccer, but most taboo in golf. Yet while much of Pullman still lies buried under the hush of snow and ice, the elements will not delay the start of the spring golf season.
Sixteen Washington State athletes, nine men and seven women, have awoken their swings from winter slumber, defrosted putters, and lay waiting for the chance to compete on softer fairways and warmer greens.
It will be up to coach Dan Koesters, a New Mexico State University graduate, to guide the Cougars through the spring season. This will be Koesters' first spring as head coach at Washington State, but he is no stranger to Cougar golf. From 1991-94, Koesters performed assistant duties under Christine Burkhart, leaving WSU to take the head coaching position at the University of Idaho. Burkhart's resignation at the end of the 1995-96 season opened the door for Koesters' return to WSU. With the fall season allowing Koesters to get to know his golfers a little better, the upcoming spring season will be the first true test of how far he can guide the Cougs.
Of the nine returnees to the men's team, only three are underclassmen. But to say that age equals experience would be incorrect with this squad. Troy Blood, a senior from Hayden Lakes, Idaho, has competed in only four tournaments throughout his entire career as a Cougar. Of those four, only one was a spring tournament, a one-round Sacramento State Invitational at which he placed in a tie for nineteenth. The other senior, Chad Gaffaney, joined the team prior to the 1996 fall season, competing in two tournaments since that time, including a team-leading performance at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational.
Koesters will look upon redshirt juniors Sean Clements and Max McCain, as well as sophomore Jeremy Champoux, to lead the men this season. Clements put forth a fine effort during the 1995-96 campaign, including a victory at the Canadian International Golf Championship and a tie for 21st at the Pac-10 Championships. McCain struggled his sophomore year, but played some of his best golf during the fall, playing in all five tournaments and placing among the top-13 on two occasions. Champoux has competed in all but two tournaments as a Coug, and led his team at the Pac-10 Championships last year, placing twelfth. This past fall, Champoux finished in the top-20 at both the Woodranch Invitational and the Chase Cheverolet Invitational.
Helping to fill out the team are juniors Alex Kouzmanoff and Erik Anderson, sophomore Matt Hartley, and freshman Ryan Halvorson, all of which have used their redshirt privileges.
The women's team is led in part by junior Kelly Wilson. Wilson finished in the top-15 on two occasions this fall, after finishing no better than 40th last year. Senior teammate Margaret Switzer was the backbone of the team, finishing among the top-32 all but once including finishes of 14th and 18th. Switzer will look to erase memories of her junior year in which a superb fall season was tainted by ballooning scores in the spring.
Angie Cates, a junior from Woodinville, competed in all eleven tournaments her sophomore year, twice finishing in the top-20. Despite struggling early in the fall, Cates placed 25th at the San Diego State Fall Classic, leading the team, and giving herself momentum going into the winter intermission.
The Cougars will seek additional help from senior Kim Schramer, sophomore Anne Marvin, and freshmen Jenny Ballou and Nicole Parry.
Washington State's women will hit the links February 10-11, entering the Colby Invitational in Carmel, California. The men will tee-up March 3-4, at the Aldila Collegiate Golf Classic in San Diego, California.