Our trip to Fishers, IN was filled with countless memories and will definitely go down as one of my favorite tournaments. The five-day trip began Wednesday afternoon as we loaded up our van in Savage Arena's parking lot. After we strategically packed everything in to our newly-named van Rocket Reba, we were set to go..or so we thought. Coach had us get back out of the van where she surprised us with new MAC Championship gear. We were beyond excited and of course had to change into the new shirts before we left. The ride to Indiana for me consisted of sleep and for some of the girls a little bit of studying. Before we knew it we had made it to Fishers and it was time for food. Dinner at Texas Roadhouse was great and was filled with lots of laughs. As always we managed to take down about 30 rolls, our waitress had a hard time keeping up. We arrived at our hotel and were absolutely amazed at how nice it was. We were greeted by Phoebe, the hotel dog and got our fill on the giant bowl of now and laters sitting in the lobby. It had been a long day so it was an early night for us all. We were excited and ready to take on Hawthorns the next day for our practice round.
Thursday morning came quickly as we had an early start. It felt good to be back at Hawthorns because it feels like a home course to us. It was a very focused and productive golf round, and we took a lot away from it. We finished up our time at the course with some range work and putting. Then it was off to eat at O'Charley's for dinner. I must say they were much faster to bring us out our food this time than when we came in the fall. Before we knew it the day was about over, and we were on our way back to the hotel. After our team meeting it was time to get some sleep for our early tee times in the morning.
Day one of the MAC Championship had finally arrived and we were more than ready to get started. Little did we know that there was going to be an hour-and-fifteen minute frost delay. As we sat in the van we learned some interesting things about the club, like they use the parking lot as a bus stop. It took us some time to figure out what was going on. By the end of the delay we were so ready and fired up to go. After we stretched, warmed up, and had our dance party it was finally time to play. The weather turned out to be absolutely gorgeous for the first round of play and the Rockets finished quite well shooting a 304 which put us in third place. Ball State was leading the tournament after Day 1 with 298 and Kent State was in a close second with a 301. Our seniors Georgie and Nam both fired 74s and Alli had her career low with a 76! After play we headed back to the hotel to do homework and get cleaned up for our team banquet which was at the Hawthorns Golf and Country Club. Dinner was great and there were a lot of stories told and too many laughs to count. We ended the dinner with a little dance party for the parents. After dinner it was back to the hotel to get some rest for the second day of play.
We started Saturday morning like any other tournament day and headed out to the course. Just as we finished our dance session in the parking lot and were walking to warm up our fans from back home arrived! A lot of screaming and hugging occurred, but just for a few moments because then it was off to warm up. However, right when we started to warm up the sirens went off and we were in a rain delay. So to the locker room we went for the 45-minute wait. Before we knew it was time to get ready, warm up and start the second day of play. It was a windy and cold day out on the course but the Rockets kept it up. We finished the day with a 309 which put us five shots out of the lead! Nam shot extremely well shooting a 72. The excitement and enthusiasm was contagious and we were all ready to take on the final day of the MAC Championship and come out on top!
We woke up Sunday morning knowing that this was the day we had been waiting for all year. I guess you could say we "Turned Our Swag On" the moment we got up for the day. All of our hard work and preparation had showed the first two days of the tournament and it was time to finish it and take home the trophy. The two-day total scores separating the top three teams had never been so close and every team was rooting the Rockets on to take down Kent State, the 13-year undefeated MAC Champs. We had the later parings because we were in the lead groups so the final round began around ten o'clock. Through the first five holes, we were only two shots back from Kent. It was very close early on and we were giving ourselves a good chance at winning. However, mid-round Kent State proved why they are a top 50 program and made birdies when they needed to. The Golden Flashes put the hammer down and lit up the back nine to finish with a 19-stroke lead. We had set ourselves up so well for the last day of play and it was definitely a hard hit when we realized that it was all over. Even though we didn't come out on top we still had a great showing finishing top 3. The big win didn't happen for us this year, but we are already talking about next spring and ready to work as hard as possible to take down undefeated Kent State.
I have truly enjoyed our team this year and the memories we have made are endless. The seniors will be missed greatly. We had a very young team this year but we're not going anywhere so get ready Rocket fans for next fall! We really appreciate all of the support we have received and can't say thank you enough. See you next season!
Kate Hoops is a sophomore from Lima, OH who is majoring in early childhood education.