by JASON STRICKLAND, Sports Editor
Getting experience and having fun is what Jennies head golf coach Chris Port said are his goals for the first group of Jennies golf players.
With three freshmen, two juniors, one senior and a graduate student, the team certainly has a mix of stories and experience.
It was difficult for Port to recruit this year since he did not get hired until after the NCAA signing day.
“I got lucky. I found three freshmen that hadn’t signed, and I’m really happy I got all of those freshmen in here,” Port said. “I think all of them have the ability to get their game to a nice level for us.”
One of the freshmen is Kayla Temple, and she said Central seemed like the perfect place to go.
“I visited a few times and I loved the campus, and they had the degree that I wanted,” Temple said. “It was the ideal situation for me to play here.”
Temple said her goal is to win a tournament this season.
The other two freshmen are Demie Derry from Bedford, Iowa and Jordan Thoreson from Richmond, Mo.
Port said his goal for them is to develop their games and get experience so they will be more competitive next season.
There will be some college golf experience on the team in junior Krystal Martinez, who comes over from Dodge City Community College in Kansas.
“She’s been to the national junior college championships, so she brings in a level of experience that some of the other girls don’t have,” Port said.
Senior Liz Boatright and graduate student Katie Threlkeld may be the oldest players on the team, but have not played college golf.
Central had the degree program Boatright wanted to study, so she came here as a freshman instead of playing golf at another school, but now gets to play a year of college golf.
“It’s exciting,” Boatright said. “I have wanted them to get a team ever since I started playing golf because both of my parents went to school here, my grandfather taught here for 40 years and my grandma got her degree here, too.”
She said her individual goal is to improve her game and enjoy the season, and her goal for the team is to get the program’s name out there so players will want to come to Central for years to come.
Threlkeld graduated from the University of Arkansas, but did not play golf, so she will get to play as a graduate student.
“I want her [Boatright] to have a good time and get to experience [college golf],” Port said. “For Katie, my grad student, same deal, she gets one year to really enjoy it and I expect them to work hard and compete hard just like I would any of my other players…I want them to look back ten years from now and say, “man that was just awesome and fun.”
Port said he would like to see them stay close to the program after this year.
“I want them to be able to have the kind of year that after they are graduated and gone and been working, they want to stay involved with the program because this is a unique group. It’s the only group that will ever be the first group of golfers for Jennies golf,” Port said.
The Jens also had a walk-on in junior Krista Jobe from St. Clair, Mo.
Port said he expects this program to be one of the best in the country in the future.
“My long term goal is to have Jennies golf be a program that is thought about when you talk about teams on the national level,” Port said.
“I don’t have any different expectation as [Mules head golf coach] Tim [Poe] has, it’s just we are at the infancy of our program and he’s had 20 years to build that. But I definitely think that the school has put the resources in place for us to compete at a very high level, and I think we can do that.”
He added that these players have what he wants future Jens golf players to have.
“The thing I really like about all these girls is they all kind of have that fiery competitive spirit within them…They are fiery and competitive, and I want that to be a big part of what we do every year,” Port said.
The Jens will begin their five-tournament fall schedule Sept. 2-3 at conference newcomer University of Nebraska-Kearney.