Fall semester full of ups and downs without coach Martens

Mark Schafer

Before the fall season started for the ISU women’s golf team, there was a big change that would affect the whole team and the fall season as well.

It wasn’t a key injury or an announcement that one of the offseason recruits was leaving. Instead, coach Christie Martens informed the team that she would take the semester off for maternity leave, leaving assistant coach Pina Gentile in charge for the majority of the fall schedule.

“It was something we were preparing for before the season started and dealt with as the season went on,” Gentile said about coaching the team. “Martens was still able to help out at times and I think that the team handled the situation well.”

Martens missed the first four tournaments of the season while on maternity leave, but came back to help coach the team before its final tournament of the fall season, the Landfall Tradition.

The Cyclones finished fifth at the tournament, which hosted 15 of the top 50 women’s golf teams in the country.

“It was challenging to try and coach the team without actually being there to coach them,” Martens said. “To have the team play well at the Landfall in front of a few Iowa State boosters was a nice event to come back to.”

At Landfall, it was sophomore Sasikarn On-Iam who led the Cyclones with a three-round score of 226.

“We had an up-and-down semester and had a strong finish at the end,” Martens said. “Kristin Paulson and Prima Thammaraks both had strong top finishes in tournaments this fall; they were two of our top performers.”

Paulson, a senior, had her best tournament of the season at the last tournament Gentile served as coach, the Lady Northern Tournament on Oct. 9 through 11. There, Paulson finished fourth overall.

“Things didn’t really change much with [Gentile] as our coach,” Paulson said. “Overall we still had individual things to work on and both coaches worked with us on those areas.”

Thammaraks, a sophomore, had her best tournament at the Windy City Collegiate Classic, where she finished in a tie for seventh.

“We have faced some tough competition this fall, which will prepare us for some of the competition that we’ll face in the spring,” Paulson said. “With both coaches back, we should be able to improve, and I think the whole team is looking forward for the spring.”

Although school won’t be back in session until Jan. 9, Martens said the women golfers will be hard at work before the new semester starts.

“We’ll have some time for the girls to visit their families, but we’ll get right back to work after the holidays,” Martens said. “With both of the coaches back, we can work together and get the girls ready for a tough Big 12 season.”