The Hastings College men’s golf team ended last season on a high note, taking first place at the fourth Great Plains Athletic Conference qualifying event.
Broncos’ head coach Lloyd McIntyre believes the fall season is just an extension of the spring season. The golfers continue playing throughout the summer and right into the fall, as if the season never ended.
While the Broncos are trying to pick up where they left off in the spring, McIntyre feels he has to be careful not to push them too hard as the long season begins nearing its end.
“You’re talking seven or eight months, by the time it’s all said and done, of just straight golf. The things we’re really trying to protect against is getting burned out and remembering why you play — because you love it — and staying hungry,” McIntyre said. “It’s hard to do for eight consecutive months. They understand that everything we’ve done for the last seven months has been getting us ready for this conference tournament.”
Hastings College has started the season by playing in several duals as well as a couple tournaments. The Broncos will compete in a tournament in Newton, Kan., on Sept. 26-27 before playing in the first GPAC qualifying tournament of the year in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“Everything we do in the fall really gears us up for conference. Those conference events decide who goes to nationals,” the HC coach said. “We kind of eased into it this fall with those duals, but as we get deeper into the fall, we’ll start playing more and more. We’ve got a lot on the calendar between now and Oct. 3, which is when our first conference meet is.”
The GPAC qualifiers are scheduled differently this year. Previously, there were four one-day tournaments — two held in the fall and two in the spring. This season, there will be one two-day tournament in the fall and one in the spring.
McIntyre said the new format won’t change the way his golfers prepare for the GPAC meets, but he and the Broncos’ No. 1 golfer, Collin Tedesco, believe the change benefits the Broncos.
“I think we’re a two-day (tournament) team. I think we play better on the second day, knowing that if we’re down it kind of motivates us,” Tedesco said. “I think we’ve been more successful in two-day tournaments, so I’m looking forward to it. I like it a lot more.”
Tedesco is one of 10 seniors on the roster for Hastings College. The group is McIntyre’s first recruiting class. He said it has been special to watch the group grow on and off the course.
“It’s been very gratifying to watch them grow and develop into the people that they are today. They came to me in pretty good shape, but when you get to college things can change,” McIntyre said. “In their own right, each and every one of them has grown into a better person and a better golfer. It’s been fun to watch. It’s kind of surreal, too, because we don’t think four years goes that fast, but (snapping his fingers), it’s gone.”
Tedesco said the team works out together and hangs out together on weekends. He said nearly half of the golfers went down to Lincoln for the University of Nebraska football game Saturday against Oregon.
The Broncos have three golfers from outside the U.S. — Juan Gallegos (Bogota, Columbia), Matt Rees (Bridgend, Wales), and Asier Undabeitia (Bilbao, Spain).
“It’s a lot of fun playing with these guys,” said senior Cameron Bargell, who is a co-captain with Tedesco. “We’ve got kids from all over — a kid from Wales (England), a kid from Spain, a kid from Columbia. We’ve got a really close bond that we’re going to keep for the rest of our lives.”
McIntyre said Bargell and Tedesco make a great pair of captains because of the way the handle themselves on the course and in the classroom. McIntyre sees the other golfers feeding off the duo’s example, working hard in practice, playing competitive golf during meets, and handling their business in the classroom despite missing a good chunk of school due to tournaments.
In July, the NAIA announced its Scholar-Team honors, and Hastings College had 15 teams with a GPA high enough to receive recognition. Leading the way was the men’s golf team, with a grade point average of 3.69 — something McIntyre likes to boast about with pride.
“As a parent, you understand that they’re coming here for an education, first and foremost,” he said. “The golf and stuff is very important to them. It’s part of their decision making process when deciding where to go, but to see them handle their business in the classroom like that — as a parent thinking about my kids — handling their academics and also being successful on the golf course, there’s so much to be proud of. I’m incredibly proud of them.”