Article by Sam Herder, Devils Lake Journal - Sports
Eric Gullicks had to wait more than an hour to find out if his golf career at Lake Region State College was done or if he'd have one more tournament. Sitting in the van on the way back home with his teammates and coach Shane Hersch, Gullicks finally got the good news.
The sophomore placed in the Top 5 at the Region XIII Tournament at Mesabi Range and would play another tournament. But it's not just any tournament. It'll be the NJCAA National Tournament to be held May 22-27, 2016, at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.
There was already good news in the van as they waited, because sophomore Kelsey Schlenk also qualified for the national tournament for the second year in a row.
"We sat in the car for about an hour and a half and Shane goes do you want the good news or the bad news," Gullicks said. "And I said I'd take the good news. He said the good news is I tied for second. The bad news is you'll have to miss the first week of work out of school."
Gullicks' score of 154 is the second lowest 2-day score in LRSC golf history and he's the first male golfer to make the national tournament.
"He was asking me every 10-15 minutes," Hersch said. "It was a good feeling. The whole van was excited for him. He played unbelievable golf and he deserved to go."
For Schlenk, the expectations for herself was to make the national tournament again after an excellent freshman campaign.
She finished third to qualify for the national tournament to be held May 16-19, 2016, at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"The pressure is off so now you can just go and golf," Schlenk said. "It was definitely a different course for me because it's a layup course for me, where for a lot of girls it's just normal. I had to play it a lot different than others."
It was a big day for all LRSC golfers.
Freshman Casey Julson also finished in the Top 10 on the men's side, finishing tied for 7th with a two day score of 161.
For Schlenk and Gullicks, they'll get the winter to enjoy it before making their way down to the national tournament. Although the obvious disadvantage is not being able to golf outdoors in North Dakota.
But Schlenk has been there before.
"When you get down there, everyone golfs year round," Schlenk said. "When I got down there and I tell them we still have snow at home and they're shocked I haven't golfed outdoors in awhile."
The two will use an indoor simulator in town and also go to the bubble in Fargo to stay sharp.
"I'll enjoy it off for a bit," Gullicks said. "I can relax now and get back to it in the spring and hopefully go low again at the tournament."
Both golfers said it had been their goal all season to make the national tournament. Gullicks was on the edge and needed a solid day to make it. Schlenk has consistently been in the Top 5 all schedule long this season and just needed to do her thing to qualify.
"She is confident in her golf game," Hersch said. "On about the 12th hole I asked her how she was doing. She told me she was right there and she was going to go to nationals. And it wasn't in an arrogant way or anything like that. She was just confident in her ability and she knew what she needed to get done."
In his first year coaching the young program, Hersch said his two sophomores have set a standard for Royal golfers and hopes the program can consistently send its golfers to the big stage.
"What these two have done for us will be great for recruiting and get Lake Region State golf on the map and to keep bringing kids that compete at the highest level and make nationals," Hersch said.