Golf coach sees bright future from youth

Kari Brackett

A young but experienced team can only mean a positive future for any sport. For Pam Tyska, NIU women’s golf coach, she hopes that future begins now.

While the third-year boss lost a top-notch golfer in Sue (Sisler) Ellett, Tyska has eight returning athletes with college experience under their belts.

“This year we have some most exciting things. Last year we had a good recruiting class with five,” Tyska said. “None of them hit their peak last season, but they will all be back with a lot more skill.”

As her squad, which includes two walk-on freshmen, begins its fall schedule, Tyska said the golf crew will most likely not have the same kinds of problems it encountered in the 1987-88 season. With five new members last season, Tyska noticed her freshmen had difficulty adjusting to a different game. The range in high school and junior tournaments is usually between 5,800 and 5,900 yards, but college courses are 6,200 yards.

“We play standard men’s tees instead of women’s tees. Initially, as a freshman, it does take adjusting, but now they are used to playing the field and we have more to work with,” Tyska said.

One Huskie who is not new to the college golf scene is senior Laura Scheibach. Scheibach, who Tyska described as “a consistent low scorer last season,” will start in the No. 1 position for NIU. As a junior, Scheibach finished in the 10th spot in NIU’s own Huskie Classic. She was a medalist in the spring at the Illini Invitational. Senior Sue Groves will also add her three-year letter-winning experience to the Huskie group.

“Scheibach is looking to snag some individual honors as well as help the team along,” Tyska said.

“Both (Scheibach and Groves) held very low scores last year. We needed more support from the people below them and we didn’t get it.”

Mishelle Reed is one performer Tyska wants support from. The sophomore from Cambridge was recruited as the top prospect in Illinois last year. Tyska said that Reed was one who struggled with the course change, but she has noticed a big difference since Reed competed in tourneys over the summer.

Sophomore Cindy Watson is another strong hopeful for the fall campaign. During the summer, Watson was on her own “junior mini-tour.” She competed in the Illinois State AM and the local Galesburg Tournament.

Sharon Humphrey and Jodi Vaassen are two more sophomores on the roster along with junior Jenny Mellinger. Walk-on freshman Chantel Scherer and Chris Cray round out the squad.

“The advantage of playing golf in the fall is that we are in the best shape ever,” Tyska said, referring to summer competition. “We are slower in the spring because we don’t have a chance to compete in the winter. We do practice inside, but you can only hit so many balls 15 feet into a net.”

The golfers will try and use their abilities to defeat rivals Iowa State and Michigan State this season. NIU also will try to top its second-place finish in its own tourney, which will be held October 7 and 8 at the Kishwaukee Country Club.

Tyska said if anyone is interested as a walk-on, tryouts will start today and last through the 31st. Tyska can be reached at 753-1548.