Nov. 3, 2014

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

With the conclusion of the fall season, senior Patrick Skakel and the Mountain Lions can officially turn their eyes toward the spring season and the end goal of a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship and perhaps a berth in the national championships.

“I want to make the most of it,” said Skakel. “I want to win an RMAC Championship. We won one, and I wasn’t in the lineup, so I still don’t consider myself a part of that team that won it. No regrets this year.”

Returning three seniors, the team felt that the veteran leadership would propel them into this year.

“Coming into the season we felt good since we didn’t lose many guys from last season,” said Skakel.“We were definitely better prepared coming into this season than the year before.”

Rounds of 69, 70 and 71 from Skakel at the Palmer Foundation Invitational Sept. 15 and 16 helped UCCS to a second place finish in the first tournament of the year.

“I surprised myself a little bit coming off the summer where I worked all summer,” said Skakel. “I didn’t get to play a whole lot and I think it helped me. Coming in with three months rest definitely helped.”

The team followed that success with a win at the first major RMAC tournament at the Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City, Colo. Dylan Mitchell finished third and Skakel tied for tenth.

“Great start to the season. It showed everyone that just because we didn’t do that great last year doesn’t mean we don’t have a good start,” Skakel said.

Skakel believes that practicing with his teammates gets the team ready for tournaments.

“We all push each other. It helps having guys that are as good as you, if not better, on the team competing,” he said. “If we’re qualifying together, we all want to make the team, but at the same time you want to beat each other as well.”

The Otter Invitational in California was the last fall tournament for the Mountain Lions, where they finished thirteenth in a field with 10 teams that have been to the national championships within the past two years.

Skakel feels the regularity of the teams finishes have been critical.

“Our consistency has been important,” Skakel said. “Even in tournaments where we felt we didn’t play to the best of our abilities, we still fi nished pretty well.”

“We like to think that even when we don’t play our best we are still going to be up there. When we are up there, we will win.”

The team will begin the spring portion of their season at the St. Edward’s Invitational March 9-10 in Austin, Texas.

“We want to win the RMAC. We should, really. That’s the least we expect from ourselves,” said Skakel.