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Talented Freshman Bolsters Women’s Golf Team

Sunday, June 02, 2013

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By Jordan Brink

Calvin women’s golf is coming off a fall season in which it finished fourth in the MIAA and one of the reasons for the team’s success was the freshmen class, led by Casey Harkema.  With a season average of 88.5 strokes-per-round and a 16th-place finish in the final MIAA standings, Harkema played a valuable role as a newcomer to the women’s golf program. 

She was joined in Calvin’s top five by two other talented freshmen— Jennie Poole (Summit, N.J.) and Sarah Arendsen (Wayland, Mich.).

“My first year of college golf was a lot of fun,” said. “We all had our good and bad rounds, but I know we are capable of a lot. I am really excited for this spring season so that we can really see what we are made of.”

The highlight of Harkema’s fall season took place in the third league tournament of the year. Her season-best score of an 85 allowed her to tie for 11th place in the match hosted by Saint Mary’s College.

Calvin threatened to take third place in the final MIAA regular season standings—based on four 18-hole rounds (jamborees) and the two-day, 36-hole MIAA fall tournament. The Knights saved their best for last, taking third place at the final tournament. It marked Calvin’s best-ever finish at the tournament.

The fourth-place finish still gives the Calvin’s women golf team the opportunity to compete in the MIAA spring tournament, which determines the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA III Tournament. Harkema, looking ahead to this spring, said
“I am really excited for the spring season.  I think that our team is very talented and determined, and we are capable of accomplishing a lot.  The MIAA tournament is going to be very close between the four teams, and I think we have a chance.”

Harkema is hoping to take her game to the next level as she continues on the Calvin team. “I need to improve on my putting and short game,” she said. “Those two things are what really helps you lower your score, so I can always improve on that.”

Before coming to Calvin, Harkema was a standout at Holt (Mich.) High School. Her father is the golf coach at Holt, which is no surprise to those who know the Harkema family. “Golf is really a family sport,” she explained, “My dad, grandpa, uncles and brother all play. I started going to golf camps when I was little and have been playing ever since.”

Another thing that runs in her family is its allegiance to Calvin College. Harkema, explaining her ties to the school, said Calvin is in her blood because her whole family has gone here.  “Ultimately,” she said, “I chose to come to Calvin because I really enjoyed the atmosphere here both athletically and academically.” Harkema is an engineering major.

One of her favorite moments from the fall season was a conversation she had with some competitors she was playing against: “During this fall season I was playing with two other players on opposing teams, and it came up that Calvin didn’t give athletic scholarships. They asked me why I would ever play if I was not getting paid to. I realized that our team is driven to do well because we are all playing because we love the game.”


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