Vandal senior Kristin Strankman first heard from the University of Idaho womenâ€™s golf team after a strong showing as a junior in high school.
The Richland High School recruit later received a scholarship offer from Idaho head coach Lisa Johnson and accepted the offer because of the schoolâ€™s short distance from her hometown.
â€œThe town of Moscow is just really quaint and nice,â€ Strankman said. â€œIt was a great fit.â€
She said she enjoys the close-knit comradery of her teammates in addition to the atmosphere of the Moscow community.
â€œWeâ€™re all pretty close because it is a smaller team,â€ Strankman said. â€œWe hang out all the time.â€
Johnson said Strankman developed into one of the teamâ€™s leaders and brought the team together during her last year of collegiate competition.
â€œSheâ€™s like, silently competitive,â€ Johnson said. â€œYou donâ€™t realize how competitive of a person she is, but sheâ€™s really bought into what Iâ€™ve done here as a coach. Sheâ€™s worked extremely hard and improved a great deal over the last four years.â€
Strankman said her competitive psyche has improved drastically during her time with the program.
â€œWhen it comes to just the mental aspect of golf, Iâ€™ve grown leaps and bounds,â€ Strankman said.
Johnson said Strankman was initially critical of her own play when she joined the team, but as she developed she began to learn to search for the positives.
â€œSheâ€™s not trying to make things happen so much,â€ Johnson said. â€œSheâ€™s been in the present more, and just letting things come as they come and manage each individual shot at a time.â€
Johnson said she also noticed an increased focus from Strankman during practices and tournament play.
â€œSheâ€™s able to translate that into competition,â€ Johnson said. â€œSheâ€™s been able to be very focused when sheâ€™s ready to hit a shot, but then after the shot is over she can relax and talk and kind of clear her mind until she gets to the next shot.â€
As her time as a Vandal comes to an end, Strankman said she will take with her all of the memories that she has made with teammates and friends throughout the years.
â€œFour years is a long time,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m way different now than I was when I first came here as a freshman.â€
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org