The University of Victoria Vikes’ men’s golf team appears to be peaking at the right time as they come down the stretch toward two of their most important tournaments of the year.
Both the U.S.-based National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Championships are set to go in only two months.
For the last two years, the Vikes have taken home the trophy at February’s Master’s College Spring Invitational.
Securing back-to-back victories at the same tournament was quite an accomplishment for the team, said fourth-year student and men’s team captain Alex Cartwright.
“The win was huge for our confidence I think as a team. I think we know we can contend. We just have to play our game,” Cartwright says.
In a sport known for its individuality, the Vikes, who call Uplands Golf Club home, understand the importance of a full, solid team effort to accomplish their goals.
“You’re not playing for yourself, you’re playing for the team,” Cartwright says.
Second-year player Mike Griffin agrees.
“We have to play well as a team if we want to get the result we want. It doesn’t just come down to one person (as it does in traditional golf). We believe in each other. We have a great group of guys and we know if we play well we can give ourselves a great chance (to win) week-in and week-out,” he says.
The team is coming off another strong performance at Nevada’s Primm Valley Golf Club last month.
The tournament marked the team’s first start since its victory in California nearly a month before.
Perhaps a bit rusty, the team got off to a sluggish start, but had one of the best final rounds of the tournament to secure a respectable fifth-place finish out of 18 teams.
Going into the event, the team was ranked 11th in the NAIA. Now, after such a strong finish, the Vikes appears to be in good position to better their ranking.
The Battle at Primm, as it is known, proved to be one of the most difficult tournaments to date for the Vikes, as it boasted one of the deepest fields in NAIA tournament play.
“Primm was a really deep field. Lots of teams (ranked in the top 10 of the NAIA were) there,” says Cartwright.
The Vikes looked to continue their momentum in Salem, Or. this week, competing Monday and Tuesday at the NAIA Corban Spring Invitational, which provides valuable exposure to more elite competition featuring U.S.-based players. Having won last year’s event as well, the Vikes entered the tourney (held after the News went to press) looking defend their title.