Freshmen make mark

The Gophers have three freshmen on their roster.

by Betsy Helfand

In her first college tournament, freshman Sabrine Garrison turned in a top-five finish.

Fellow freshman teammate Celia Kuenster tied for sixth in the competition.

Those two, along with Heather Ciskowski, make up a talented and highly touted freshman class, bringing excitement to the golf program.

“After waiting three years to get them, yes, it’s exciting to have three — almost four — years with them,” head coach Michele Redman said.

But Redman’s not the only one who’s excited.

“We have room to grow, and we will grow as individuals and as a team, so it’s going to be a really exciting process,” Ciskowski said.

It’s a process that the trio will have an opportunity to tackle together.

“Celia, Heather and I had a chance to bond before coming here, which was great. We [got] here, and we had the relationship formed,” Garrison said.

The three golfers first met during their official visit to campus, and they had the opportunity to compete in some of the same tournaments over the summer.

A knowledge and familiarity with future teammates has helped ease the jump to college.

“Just being able to move in and knowing people who already know your background and you’re able to talk about a lot of different things with … made it a lot easier on the transition,” Kuenster said.

The three seem to be settling in well on the course, too.

Kuenster, a two-time Minnesota 3A state champion, was included in the team’s lineup at the Minnesota Invitational.

For the upcoming second tournament, both Garrison and Kuenster cracked the lineup and Ciskowski will compete as an individual.

Garrison said Redman and assistant coach John Cleary have helped her both with her confidence and with her consistency.

Her first performance as a college golfer seemed to reflect that.

“My goal was to just experience the college tournament and not be overly focused on score, and that, in fact, helped me play really well,” Garrison said. “I’ve been working on a few swing changes, and that had really helped me gain some consistency.”

Garrison competed in the Minnesota Invitational as an individual, and her inclusion in the lineup would’ve helped the team finish closer to the top.

Redman said she’s excited to see the class come in and be able to make a difference, which Kuenster and Garrison will have a chance to do this week.

“We’ve been recruiting them so long and we know them, so they kind of just slid right in,” Redman said of the trio. “They’ve all three done well. They adjusted well.”