Mon, Jun. 25, 2012 - [Women's Golf]
The navy and gold earned the award out of 151 women's golf programs in the NAIA
Oskaloosa--As a member of the NAIA, William Penn is encouraged to be a Champion of Character, and within that initiative teams are required to perform service projects throughout the year.All of the teams at William Penn make a strong effort to get out in the community, but there was one program that really took the flag and waved it proudly this school year.
The Lady Statesmen golf team went well beyond the call of duty this past year and for its collective efforts, the NAIA recognized the squad as the recipient of the Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award for women's golf for 2011-2012. The award is the first ever for William Penn since joining the NAIA in 2001-2002.
The team began its service by commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at a tournament in Minnesota. Prior to the event, the team bought red, white, and blue ribbons and wore them in their hair and tied them to their golf bags.
"Although this was a small gesture of remembrance, tournament officials noticed and decided to have an unplanned moment of silence for the victims of 9/11/01 and their families," Head Coach Nik Rule said.
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the team helped bring awareness. Team members decided to sell William Penn golf shirts to students and members of the community with all proceeds, totaling $210, going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The players also purchased, with their own money, pink golf polos with the breast cancer ribbon logo on the sleeve. They wore the pink shirts for the final day of every tournament in October.
Also for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Lady Statesmen volunteered during a William Penn football game to paint children's and students' faces with the breast cancer ribbon logo.
During the winter months, the local YMCA hosted a mini-putt event for their biggest fundraiser of the year. The fundraiser consisted of 18 uniquely created golf holes and area youth and parents paid money to come and participate. The Lady Statesmen worked over six hours building their hole and spent the entire weekend working it, interacting with the community. They were the only non-business or adult organization to participate.
This spring, team members spent several hours reading to local students at the Oskaloosa Elementary School. They also took time to talk to the students about making the right choices, following their dreams, and working hard in school.
"Giving back is very important to us," Rule said. "We firmly believe that we can have a greater impact on society as a team than as individuals, and our athletes understand that. The way they handled themselves in the community should make all of our fans proud."
"Golf can be a funny game, as many believe that it is just an individual sport," Rule continued. "Our team takes a significantly different approach; everything we do is about the team. We win as a team, lose as a team, volunteer as a team and progress forward in everything we do as a team. With this philosophy, it is important to have athletes that have the character that allows for them to believe that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves and I applaud our ladies for embracing that philosophy."
"As student-athletes at the college level, it is important to strive to have a mature mindset," Rule said. "Our athletes work hard to be positive role models and effective ambassadors for the University. It is vital to our philosophy to show respect and integrity on and off the golf course. This is why our team goes out of their way to promote causes that positively impact others and why volunteering and supporting the community is critical to our success. Our athletes are not forced to embrace the traits that make them champions of character; they truly want to be champions of character and show it every single day."
Junior Courtney Kronmuller reiterated her coach's view.
"We feel that it is important to incorporate character into our team dynamic because not only do we want to represent ourselves in a positive light on the course, but we are also building character that will take us on whatever path that life may lead," Kronmuller said.
"It is our character that brings our team together and our team bond is what sets us apart from every other team out there--we are sisters and it is amazing," Kronmuller continued. "We legitimately enjoy going out into our community to lend a helping hand. It is the small things, like reading to kindergartners, that allows us to do that and show people that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves."
"On behalf of our players, our Athletic Department, and William Penn University, I would like to say thank you to the NAIA for recognizing the efforts of our athletes," Rule said. "We had some nice success on the golf course this year, winning tournaments and climbing up the national rankings. But if you combine all our successes on the course, it does not come close to how important this honor is to our program. To be selected out of 151 women's golf programs nationwide is humbling and we will strive to continue to make an impact on the lives of others using the champions of character values as our guiding principle."