Justin Chapman | Echo
The Taylor women's golf team recorded its first-ever Crossroads League tournament victory, as of Tuesday. The Taylor women's golf team earned its first-ever Crossroads League championship Tuesday in Lansing, Michigan.
Last week at the Rock Hollow Invitational, the Trojans came in fourth after the first day but came out in first place after the second day. Winning a conference championship in the first few years of a program's history is an impressive feat.
"This is one of the top five moments in my life because it was so fun to finally be able to compete as a team instead of as an individual," junior Grace Elenbaas said. "The moment we found out we won and had come from behind, we were all crying and jumping up and down."
Sophomore Raquel Helton said she was excited when they knew they had a chance to win. She is also thankful to see all the work in the offseason pay off now.
At the end of the first day, Taylor placed second with freshman Maddie Thomas leading the way, placing second individually with a score of 157. Senior Brittany Pfaff kept close to Thomas's lead, holding a score of 167 and ending day one in seventh place.
On the second day, the Trojans inched their way to triumph, as Indiana Wesleyan and Marian finished four and five points behind, respectively.
"We had just won three tournaments, but still no one really thought that we could win the conference title because Marian was the team to beat," Elenbaas said. "We all believed that we could do it, and our coach especially believed we could do it."
Taylor came into this tournament ranked No. 50 in the NAIA national polls. The Trojans' young program also made it unlikely they would achieve victory this weekend.
Weather was a major issue. Going into the final round on Tuesday, the weather was harsh. During the tournament, a 43-degree temperature and wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour hindered the players.
"The way they have come together to play for one another and the grit they showed to win the Crossroads League Championship was remarkable," head coach Cam Andry said. "They have earned the right to be called champions."
Taylor's improvement was recognized at the end of the season as the Crossroads League announced the end-of-the-season awards. Taylor made a few appearances on the podium as Thomas gained the Newcomer of the Year award. Thomas, along with Pfaff and Helton, all were recognized for being on the 2017 All-Crossroads League team.
The Trojans will now move on to the NAIA national tournament in West Palm, Florida. Nationals will take place the week after finals end at Taylor. The team hopes to take all of its players.
"I think the biggest difference for us this spring has been belief," Andry said. "We went from a team hoping we could compete, to a team hoping we could win, to a team believing we could win and finally we became a team who expects to win."
"Photograph provided by Cam Andry"