Harvard’s men’s and women’s golf teams geared up and headed to New Jersey the weekend of April 22 to compete in the first Ivy League Golf Championships since 2019.
Both the men’s and women’s teams had tough clashes ahead of the league game, but both teams finished their season in third place overall.
Prior to the championship, the women’s team gained momentum with a stellar performance at Georgetown University’s Hoya Invitational in Washington, D.C., where the Crimson were able to walk away with a second-place finish.
“I really think leaving the Hoya Invitational, [we felt] it was our best Ivy result to date,” said senior captain Anina Ku. “But, I think we all moved away from that, focusing on small things that we still needed to improve.”
“I think for the Ivy League golf championship we tried not to have expectations and we just tried to focus on things that we can control… so mentally I think [the Ivies] was one of our best performances,” added Ku.
The championship ended with almost the same story for the team as they finished Ivies in third place behind first place Princeton and second place Columbia.
“We played well at Ivies. I know we finished third, but we were only eight shots behind,” coach Kevin Rhoads said.
Eight points separated Crimson’s final at +36 normal score and Princeton’s final at +28 normal score. Dartmouth College and Yale tied for fourth with a final score of +38, meaning the Crimson could just edge those teams by two points to secure third place.
“Overall, I think this indicates really solid work and very good progress in the right direction,” Kevin Rhoads said. “They have much to be proud of and a lot to build on.”
The men’s team found themselves in the same position with a third-place finish with +45 points overall losing to first-place Yale, +35, and Columbia, +40.
“They, [Yale]did a really good lap on day one to have ten shots ahead of us and in the end that ended up being the margin of victory,” coach Rhoads said.
The men’s team also edged fourth place Princeton by just two points. two weeks before the Ivies, the team trailed Princeton by 40 points at the Princeton Invitational and finished in 13th place out of 15 teams.
“On the men’s side, it’s been a really good season,” said coach Kevin Rhoads. “Princeton were worried about finishing forty shots behind Princeton…it was just unusual for this team for sure.”
Prior to the Ivy League Championship, Rhoads instilled the motto that the team should focus on what they can control and not let the things they can’t control weigh them down.
“That’s our goal and we’ve talked about it a lot,” said Kevin Rhoads. “In the moment, what feels controllable sometimes changes, it’s dynamic in the moment, we just have to keep adapting and reacting to it as best we can.”
The last Ivy League championship was in 2019, and for some team members that 2022 championship was their very first Ivies experience, but for the upper class members who played before Covid, they were able to look at the championship with a different perspective.
“I still have the memories of my Ivies freshman year, I remember every moment of it, basically… ‘Mostly I remember we came from behind to win,’ Ku said in reference at the 2019 Ivy League Championships in which the team managed to achieve a final total score of +37. Seniors Chloe Royston and Anina Ku were both part of the roster that won the trophy.
After the team’s third-place finish, the team is ready to regroup and prepare for the next season and the upcoming Ivy League Championship.
“We just have to get the job done and keep staying motivated and see if there were any lessons learned that were really controllable and that’s what we’re really going to focus on,” Rhoads said.
Ku concluded with some final words of wisdom for the team: “They have to continue with the same mentality next year, which was super patient and mature, and if they are able to combine all of that, I think ‘they will have a really good chance of reclaiming the title,’ Ku said.
–Writer Erignacio Fermin Perez can be contacted at [email protected]