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Team ‘weathers’ adversity

Matt Mooney | Friday, October 1, 2004

The weather may be one of the Belles’ fiercest opponents at this weekend’s Oshkosh Invitational.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the 50s at host University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac’s golf course. However, Belles coach Mark Hamilton believes coping with the chilly temperatures will be a source of opportunity than a hindrance.

“This meet is a chance for us to gain mental toughness,” Hamilton said. “We want to prove that we can play under tough conditions and come out ahead. It makes you better, makes you stronger.”

Weather conditions aside, Hamilton said that the team has also focused on mentally preparing for this weekend’s invitational. The Belles have been working in practice to improve their sand play and their ability to work around visual hazards.

“This course has a lot of visual hazards,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been telling the girls to pick a more specific target on the course when aiming. It’s easier to look at where you don’t want to hit than focusing on where you do.”

This meet will serve as a test not only in regards to the weather and course conditions, but in the team’s depth. Earlier this week, captain Chrissy Dunham sprained her foot. Although her condition has improved, Dunham’s participation in the meet is uncertain.

“Hopefully she’ll be able to walk the course,” Hamilton said. “Her foot has improved, but we’ll be roughing it until we get up there. If her foot’s bad, and she can’t go full-strength, our No. 5 and 6 players, Nicole Bellino and Kirsten Fantom, will really have to step up.”

Despite all of the challenges Saint Mary’s will encounter this weekend, Hamilton remains optimistic and expects the Belles will be contenders for the championship title.

“There will be a lot of teams we’ve played before there, and they’re all looking to beat us,” Hamilton said. “But I think our team has more talent than other teams there. It will just be a matter of whether they can show how talented they are in the bad weather.”