Grad student leads Jens gold team

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Graduate student Katie Threlkeld practices Monday at Keth Memorial Golf Course. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)
Graduate student Katie Threlkeld practices Monday at Keth Memorial Golf Course. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)

Story by Jason Strickland, Sports Editor—
Back in the fall, it had been four years since she played her rounds competitively. She is now the leader of the first Jennies golf team.
Graduate student Katie Threlkeld followed her parent’s footsteps and attended the University of Arkansas and got a degree in communication disorders.
“When it came down to it, my dream was always to go to Arkansas,” Threlkeld said. “Once I went on my visit there, I kind of cut off my recruiting experience and just focused on going to Arkansas.”
She qualified for state three times at Washington High School in Iowa. She also competed in track, cross country and basketball.
Threlkeld did not play golf at Arkansas, which means she still had athletic eligibility when she came to Central last summer to get her master’s in speech pathology.
“I am so lucky to have had her this year,” said head coach Chris Port. “She came to see me in early June about wanting to play. I was thrilled to death to have another player come to the program.”
She is tied with freshman Kayla Temple for the team lead in average score, but that is not what makes her the team leader.
“The girls see the work that she puts in,” Port said. “They see her have fun, but they also see her gritty, ‘I want to beat you’ attitude.”
Threlkeld said getting that attitude back was one of the hardest parts after not playing tournament golf for four years.
“Just getting back in the competitive nature of it,” she said. “The last four years, it’s been golfing with my parents and my friends just for fun, and now it’s more focused and you’re playing for score.”
Port said he knew Threlkeld had the capability and talent, but the time away from competitive golf pushed her back a bit.
“You could see the ability and the skills,” he said. “You just had to kind of let her shake the rust off.”
Threlkeld’s dad has his own way of describing his daughter’s golf game.
“My dad calls me a scrambler because I don’t necessarily hit the best shots, but I find a way to get pars and bogeys,” Threlkeld said.
Port said Threlkeld could make a big jump at the end of the spring.
“The next three events, I think she will put together solid scores every event, but one of these events she’s going to actually go off,” he said. “She’s going to have that round or two rounds that will set her high up in a field of good competition.”
This is Threlkeld’s only year of eligibility, so she said it was sad that there are only three tournaments left.
She is graduating in December, and doing an internship in Columbia, Mo., after that.
Being part of the first Jennies golf team is something she will never forget.
“I think it’s really a privilege and it’s something I’ll remember forever,” Threlkeld said. “And we have a good group of girls that are representing the Jennies and the university. It’s a lot of fun. It’s something I’ll always look back on and be really proud of.”