Buena Vista Golf Team Approaches ARC Tournament as They Look Forward to Change


Allie Hartman

Tanner Frost, Sports Editor

After a strong fall season coming off of a 9th place finish in the American Rivers Conference Championships in 2018, the Buena Vista Men’s Golf team took the winter off to improve over the break.


Finally back on the links, the spring half of the season has faced adversity from the start as the team prepares for an era of change. 


Just last week, BVU’s Director of Athletics Jack Denholm announced a new head coach in Joe Powell to take over the Men’s Golf program at the conclusion of this year. 


Currently a conference rival, Powell is leaving his position at Dubuque to coach the Beavers back to glory in the 2019-2020 season. 


As a result, current Head Coach Brett Benson looks to finish off his time at Buena Vista on a high note. Never placing above 8th in the ARC during his four-year tenure at BV, Benson and the Beavers face the rest of the conference this weekend at the American Rivers Conference Championships from Apr. 26 to 27, and the following week from May 3 to 4. 


Though the team finished the Fall season in good standing, earning a 4th place finish at the BVU Fall Shootout in Spencer, recent invitations haven’t gone as planned.


Late March saw three cancellations in meets due to poor weather for Buena Vista, restricting them to indoor games. The team would have to cross off the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, the Graceland University Spring Invite in Maryville, Missouri, and an invitational with Kirkwood from their schedules. 


Finally, the chance to play outdoors would present itself in the Wartburg Spring Invite on April 5th. Shooting an impressive 319 in round one, Buena Vista would start off on the front foot. However, rounds two and three went less favorably for the Beavers. 


Finishing with a combined score of 319 in round one and 330 in round two, Buena Vista would take 10th out of 14 teams. Three sophomores would take the top three spots for the Beavers. Ryan Ruzek stood out with a team best 159 and tied for 35th overall. Evan Krause would also shoot 161 to tie for 41st, while Anthony Gallagher would finish at a mark of 163 to tie for 46th. 


A week later, the Golf team traveled for a Sunday/Monday matchup in Lincoln, Nebraska as the Prairie Wolves hosted an invitational of their own. Buena Vista would not be the only ARC team to compete, as every conference squad but Wartburg would provide a glimpse into the upcoming Conference Championships in Lincoln. 


However, Buena Vista would be off on the day, finishing second to last in the 10th spot once again. Their combined score would fall at 651 at the end of a hard-fought Monday afternoon. BV would finish above Simpson College by 14 strokes as a positive to take home. 


Ruzek and Gallagher would shine once again for BVU, both claiming a final score of 160 to tie for 34th. The other three scores for Buena Vista included Evan Krause with a score of 165 (49th), Peyton Stage with a score of 168 (55th), and Lane Krause with a score of 180 (61st). 


Improving over the course of the season just as he did during the fall, Gallagher shaved three strokes off of his game to take momentum into the coming ARC Championships. Proud of his performance, Gallagher still knows there’s work to be done. 


“Early in the fall I really struggled and it hurt my scores, but once I got my distance controlled it showed as they lowered,” says Gallagher, adding that, “I want to improve my 150- to 100-yard shots and get those distances dialed in. It will really help.” 


Alongside the rest of his team, Gallagher’s personal goals for the big weekend include improvement and a high finish in conference play. 


“I want to do all I can to help the team shoot better scores,” says Gallagher. “Whether that’s to shoot a good score or help the other players shoot well. A personal goal of mine is to get in the top ten individually for conference.” 


During the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite, the host Prairie Wolves would take number one on the day, while Dubuque and Central grabbed 3rd and 4th respectively. They would prove the teams to beat in the ARC. 


Round one of the all-important American Rivers Conference Championships begin this Saturday, Apr. 26 in Iowa City. Play will continue into Sunday and pick back up the following weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska. 


As the era of Head Coach Brett Benson transitions to that of Joe Powell, the Beavers challenge themselves to send their current leader out on a high note.