CAMROSE, ALTA., (Sept. 29, 2019) - Sunday may not have gone the way the SAIT Trojans golf team wanted, but they made huge strides in becoming a force within the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).
Carey McLean (1st year, Deer Valley, Sask., Travel and Tourism) led the ACAC Golf Championships after two days, but could not hang on in the final 18 holes, dropping to third after shooting a 91 in her final round.
"It's a little bittersweet because I knew what I was capable of and I didn't accomplish it," said McLean following her round. "But, I know I made the team proud. . . My club selection wasn't great today, and when I got frustrated I let it affect my putting."
The good news, however, is that McLean earned three medals for her hard work - individual bronze, women's team bronze and mixed team silver.
"She did a lot of good things this weekend," said Trojans head coach Stephen Yanitski. "Today, she faced adversity early on in the round, but levelled off in the middle part and got into a bit of a rhythm. In the end, it was enough to get her third place overall, third place for the women's team and second place for the mixed. She pulled her weight, and more, this weekend."
McLean's team bronze came in conjunction with teammates Karmen Mooney (5th year, Squamish, BC, Construction Project Management) and Tashel Scantlebury (5th year, Foxwarren, Man., Community Economic Development).
Using just two scores each day, the women combined to shoot 99-over par for the weekend, two shots back of second place Medicine Hat College and 46 shots back of first place Concordia University of Edmonton.
Because of their third-place finish, the women's team has qualified to take part in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships, set for the Continental Golf Club in Sorel-Tracy, Que., from Oct. 14-18.
"This weekend showed us some things that we need to work in the next two weeks," said Yanitski. "They will be going in with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder knowing that they left a few shots out there this weekend."
The mixed silver came as McLean and Scantlebury joined their scores with men's team members Dakota Smith (2nd year, Edmonton, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration), Cole Keebler (2nd year, Calgary, Business Administration) and Rock Ruschkowski (2nd year, Calgary, Respiratory Therapy).
On the men's side of things, Smith placed fourth overall after carding a 3-over 75 on Sunday to finish the tournament at a combined 10-over par (77-74-75).
While he would have liked to grab a medal, he was pretty happy with his play over the course of the three-day event.
"Honestly, today's round was pretty good," said Smith, who earned individual bronze as a member of the MacEwan Griffins two years ago. "I had a few holes where I could have made birdie, but just didn't get the ball to the hole and that's golf. . . I'm happy with where I'm at. I would have loved to come top three, but it is what it is."
Smith's Top-7 performance also qualifies him for the CCAA National Championships, where he will compete for SAIT as an individual.
"He's been the steady anchor for us all weekend long, and he would be the first to tell you that nothing he did was exceptional by his standards," Yanitski stated. "He earned his spot at nationals, and we're excited to see how he fares out there."
Matthew Cook (1st year, Airdrie, Alta., Business Administration) was the next highest Trojan (14th place) after recording rounds of 82-82-78. Rock Ruschkowski finished one spot behind Cook after carding rounds of 86-74-84.
Cole Keebler was the fourth Trojan to count in the team standings, finishing in a tie for 16th after rounds of 87-83-76.
After winning the team titles at both the North and South Regional, the men's team were hugely disappointed in their fourth-place performance this weekend.
"It's definitely disappointing to see them finish the way they did," admitted Yanitski. "All in all, it was not for a lack of effort this fall. I think maybe we were running on fumes a little bit after a busy schedule this month."