The 2016-17 season was filled with highlights and headlines for the Sam Houston State Bearkats. Awards were won, records were broken and five Southland Conference titles made their way back to Huntsville.
With the upcoming 2017-18 athletic season nearing its start, Bearkat Athletics will take a look back at the 2016-17 season throughout the summer months, highlighting the best of the past year.
Continue to keep tabs on GoBearkats.com and follow @BearkatSports on Twitter to catch the top stories of 2016-17 as they are unveiled.
Kats claim 5th title of the season
The Sam Houston State women's golf team had one of the best season in program history, notching a school record five tournament victories, but head coach Brandt Kieschnick said that was a process that started long before the season got underway in October.
“This really started about three years ago with a vision between myself, Bobby Williams and Chris Thompson, getting (assistant coach) Tommy (Chain) more of a full-time role with recruiting,” Kieschnick said. “I think you are starting to see that process starting to all come together. You have to have two guys recruiting and have that approach to the process.”
Chain, who handles a bulk of the day-to-day coaching and traveling with the women's team is now in his 11th season working with the golf program. His increased efforts on the recruiting front helped bring in one of the top junior college golfers in the country in Gianti Mahardhika and freshmen Hannah Alberto and Kari Bush.
“He is one of the hardest working guys that I have ever seen with a smile,” Kieschnick said about Chain. “He wants to keep learning and has gotten better every year, from his coaching style to what to say and when to say it and how to manage a team.”
The Kats won three straight tournaments this spring with Heather Shake taking two individual titles this spring and Mahardhika claiming one.
“We get better each round, and our best rounds have been in that final round,” Kieschnick said. “I was most proud in our last victory when we had a 12-shot lead and we told them to go out and win the day. They then shot the best score of the day. That's when I knew our mindset was where it needed to be. This is a special group of girls.”
While Shake (75.52 season average) and Mahardhika (75.48) have taken the individual titles, Alberto has been the most consistent golfer on the team. The freshman from Kingwood leads the Kats in scoring average at 74.86 and has a second-place finish to her credit this season.
Sophomore Jenna Phillips (76.54) also has a top-five finish this year and freshman Kari Bush (79.14) has a season-best finish of ninth.
“We have really ramped up the way we have practiced from drills to mindset, to course management and ball control,” Kieschnick said. “When you work on those things every day it has led to low scores and winning.
Best of 2016-17 in Bearkat Athletics Schedule
No. 20 – Softball Sweeps HBU To Clinch SLC Tournament Berth
No. 19 – Football Clinches Southland Conference Title
No. 18 – Baseball Opens SLC Play With 13 Straight Wins
No. 17 – Men's Golf Takes Second At Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational
No. 16 – Briscoe Throws 7 TD As Kats Blast ‘Jacks In Battle Of The Piney Woods
No. 15 – Gettwart Leads Women's Tennis To Win At First-Place Lamar
No. 14 – Three Bearkats Reach 1,000-Point Mark For Careers
No. 13 – Women's golf wins school-record five tournaments
No. 12 – July 7
No. 11 – July 10
No. 10 – July 12
No. 9 – July 14
No. 8 – July 17
No. 7 – July 19
No. 6 – July 21
No. 5 – July 24
No. 4 – July 26
No. 3 – July 28
No. 2 – July 31
No. 1 – Aug. 2