Category Archives: Golf

Athlete Spotlight: Drew Engelking

By Maggie Frankie


Senior Drew Engelking is Wheaton’s number one golfer on the men’s team this year. After growing up in Minnesota, Engelking found his way to Wheaton looking for an opportunity to play golf and be a part of a Christian community.

“Only my uncle came to Wheaton,” Engelking said, “but I’ve always known that Wheaton is a great school. I took a visit back in my junior year of high school and got to spend a little time with the golf team, and I immediately fell in love with the place.”

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Wheaton Men’s Golf team finishes third overall

April 19 2018

The Wheaton Men’s Golf team traveled to Sherrard, Ill. last Thursday, April 13 to compete in the Augustana Invitational. The weather was cold and windy during competition, and the second day of the two-day invite was canceled due to the forecast showing incoming worse weather. After the first round of competition, Wheaton shot 300 and placed third place out of 19 teams.

Senior Adam Eaton was Wheaton’s top finisher with a one-over par score of 71 and a seventh place tie. Freshman Cooper Williamson was only four shots behind Eaton, but finished 18th overall while junior Drew Engelking finished 24th overall by carding 76. Sophomore Joshua Chung carded 78, and senior Micah Dworak carded an 83.

Wheaton also had three golfers compete as individuals in the invite: senior Luke Grogger, sophomore Jabe Gonder and sophomore Luke Meyer. Grogger and Gonder were separated by one shot with Grogger finished in 30th place at 77 and Gonder finishing 39th with a 78. Meyer carded a 92 at the invite.

Illinois Wesleyan University, a team in the CCIW, had two full teams of golfers compete in the invite. Their first team won with a score of 275, and their second team got second with a score of 285. The host college, Augustana, finished ninth overall.

Wheaton will compete in their last invitational of the regular season this weekend when they travel to Jacksonville, Ill. for the Illinois College Blue Boy Invitational on April 20-21.


Men’s Golf finishes sixth in Purgatory Invitational

March 29 2018

Last weekend, the Wheaton Men’s Golf team competed in the Taylor University Purgatory Invitational. The team finished sixth place overall.

Due to weather conditions, the invite was moved up and Thursday’s first round was brought to an early end due to darkness. The first round was completed on Friday, March 23 as well as the entirety of the second round.

“The tournament was originally scheduled for Friday-Saturday but was moved to Thursday-Friday due to weather, so one of our key players was unable to compete,” junior Drew Engelking said. “We are overall pleased with the performance and put up some good scores in some windy and frigid conditions.”

Wheaton shot a 312 after the first round and brought their score down to 301 at the conclusion of the second round. At the end of both rounds, Wheaton’s cumulative score was 613.

“Improvement can be made in consistency and performing well in poor weather as difficult conditions are to be expected throughout the season,” Engelking said.

Engelking was Wheaton’s top performer of the invite, as he finished six-over par in the first round and shot an even-par second round. Senior Adam Eaton was three-over par after the first round and five-over par at the end of the second. Senior Micah Dworak concluded the invite with a score of 155, 11-over par. Sophomore Joshua Chung finished one-shot behind his team at 156, and sophomore Jabe Gonder was the final scorer for Wheaton, carding a 165.

“We are looking forward to having our full roster back for the next event and competing with teams who we will have to beat in order to make the postseason,” Engelking said.

The Men’s Golf team from Indian Hills Community College finished with the lowest two-round score of 560, 16-under par. The host team, Taylor University, finished in second place, carding 577, and Cardinal Stritch University finished in third place with a score of 593. Engelking referred to the teams at the Taylor Invite as “some of the best competition they will face all year.”

The Thunder Men’s Golf spring season has been underway since the first week of March. They opened their season at the Arizona Spring Invitational during their spring break trip to Arizona.

“We started this season with a fun and productive spring break golf trip in Scottsdale where we were able to continue the progress we have made over the offseason,” Engelking said.

At the Arizona Spring Invitational, Wheaton placed third overall. Dworak earned individual medalist honors when he carded an even-par round of 72 and a one-shot victory.

Eaton was two strokes back of his teammate and finished third by carding 74. Engelking shot a 76, freshman Cooper Williamson an 83 and senior Luke Grogger a 93 to finish out the team scorers. Gonder, Meyer and Chung competed as individuals at this invitational and shot an 84, 86 and 89 respectively.

“Our goals are to win tournaments and be in position to make a championship run at conference,” Engelking said. “We have a solid team this season and will have success if we work hard and have a few things bounce our way.”

The Wheaton Men’s Golf team will return to action on April 6-7 for the Illinois Wesleyan Spring Invitational at Ironwood Golf Course in Bloomington, Ill. “We are looking forwarding to competing with IWU as we have a very talented team this year,” Engelking said. The IWU Invite will open the spring CCIW competition for the Thunder.

“Winning our conference means an automatic bid to the NCAA DIII National Championships, and historically the team to beat in our conference is Illinois Wesleyan U,” Engelking said.

Last year, the Thunder finished fourth overall at the CCIW Men’s Golf Championship, while the team from IWU were the 2017-18 CCIW Champions.


Women’s Golf ties for third at the CCIW Championships

October 12, 2017

With the cancellation of the third round set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, the Wheaton Women’s Golf team finished third in the CCIW Women’s Golf Championship after the first and second rounds on Thursday, Oct. 5 and Friday, Oct. 6.

“I am extremely happy with how our team performed,” Head Coach Paluchniak said.

The women’s golf team from Illinois Wesleyan finished on top for the 14th time in conference history, and they earned the automatic NCAA Division III bid to compete in the Division III championship in May. Carthage College finished second, and Augustana tied the Wheaton Thunder for third place.

“We finished about where we were expected to,” Paluchniak said. “We were selected to finish third in the preseason polls, and we finished third. Augustana finished third [and] tied with us, a surprise to most, but they performed well when it mattered too.”

After round one on Thursday Oct. 5, Wheaton was trailing Carthage by only two points, and Augustana was trailing Wheaton by eight. Then during round two on Friday Oct. 6, Augustana shot 326 and Wheaton shot 333 allowing Augustana to tie the Thunder. There was supposed to be a third round on Saturday Oct. 7, but it “washed out due to heavy rains in the afternoon,” according to the competition’s website.

Individually, Wheaton had two golfers receive All-Conference honors by finishing in the top ten. “[Freshman] Marin Halvorsen finished sixth, and [senior captain] Kylie Monson finish ninth,” Paluchniak said.

This year was the first year that Paluchniak was the head coach of the Wheaton Women’s Golf team. “I think having a new coach impacted this season in the sense that it made it a learning situation for not just the freshmen or the new coach, but the whole team,” Paluchniak said. “I think the girls handled it exceptionally well and were constantly positive throughout the season. They were a blessing to coach in my first season.”

Success for Women’s Golf

September 28, 2017

The Women’s Golf team continued their improving trend by finishing in second place at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater’s Invitational and by winning the Aurora University Spartan Fall Classic.

On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23, five Wheaton golfers traveled to the Blackhawk Country Club in Madison, Wisc. to compete against 16 other teams. As a team, Wheaton finished second overall with a final team score of 685. Carthage College, a conference rival for the Thunder, finished with a final score of 688. Wheaton was behind Carthage after Friday’s round, but were able to perform better on Saturday to beat the Lady Reds by three points.

According to the Wheaton Athletics website, three of Wheaton’s golfers finished in the top 20. Junior Madeline Birkbichler shot 165 in two rounds and was Wheaton’s top finisher with a tie for fourth place overall. Senior captain Kylie Monson tied 14th by shooting 170, and freshman Marin Halvorsen was close behind with a final score of 172 and a tie for 17th. Wheaton’s fourth and fifth finishers were senior Rachel Goranson, who shot 179, and freshman Ellie Laymon, who shot 187.

Going into the invite, head coach Allison Paluchniak told the Record, “It was one of our last tournaments before conference, [and] we are continually preparing mentally and in our play for our conference championships.”

On Monday, Sept. 25, seven Wheaton golfers competed in the Aurora University Spartan Fall Classic against 10 other teams. The Thunder topped the rest of their competition with a compiled team score of 330 with a 21-point gap between them and the second place finisher, Aurora, who scored 351. Five teams out of the 11 entered in the competition did not finish due to darkness, according to Wheaton’s athletic website.

The Thunder had four golfers finish in the top 10, according to the Wheaton Athletics website. Senior captain Kylie Monson carded 80 and tied for third place, and senior Rachel Goranson finished only two strokes behind her co-captain and tied for fifth. Junior Madeline Birckbichler and freshman Marin Halvorsen both shot 84 to tie for seventh. Freshman Ellie Laymon carded 99 to round out the scoring golfers for Wheaton.

Improvement for Women’s Golf

September 21, 2017

The Wheaton Women’s Golf team is making improvements across the board as the season gets going with the help of their new coach.

“We are starting to get better scores and become more consistent,” Head Coach Allison Paluchniak said.

I think our biggest reason for success would be thanks to our new golf coach Allie Paluchniak,”  Coach Allie provides us with the encouragement that we need to do well in these tournaments.

On Sept. 12, the Wheaton women competed in the Elmhurst College Bluejay Fall Invitational. According to the team’s website, the Thunder finished just six strokes behind the first place team, Lake Forest College.

“We had some good performances at the Elmhurst event,” Paluchniak said. “Those are the kind of scores we should be seeing.”

Freshman Marin Halvorsen was Wheaton’s top finisher who tied for individual medalist with a five-over-par round of 77. Senior Kylie Monson finished third. Senior Rachel Goranson and junior Karissa Raschke tied for 13th. Finally, freshman Ellie Laymon shot 98, and freshman Maddie English shot 100.

The Thunder will compete in a meet against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday, Sept. 22 at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison, Wisc.

“The UWW event will be our toughest field we’ve seen yet, and largest,” Paluchniak said. “We are fully capable of placing well and having some golfers compete for the top spots.”

“It’s going to be a big tournament with over one hundred golfers and there should be some good competition there,” Raschke said. “Our main goal is to focus on playing smart on the course. None of us have played this course before so it’ll be a new experience for all of us.”

Allie Paluchniak: Women’s Golf Head Coach

August 31, 2017

How long have you been coaching?

This will be my second year coaching, [and my] first year at Wheaton College.

What is the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is to impact and influence these young women during some of the most pivotal and foundational years of their life. I think it is important to pour into them both in and out of athletic competition.

Why were you interested in working at Wheaton?

I was interested in working at Wheaton College since I did an internship here in spring of 2016. The balance of rigorous academics, integrated faith and competitive athletics makes it a great place to work. All the people I’ve interacted with during my internship time and since starting here in July have proved that to be true.

When did decide to become a coach?

I always knew I wanted to become a coach in some capacity, at any level. Late high school and my freshman year of college is when I seriously started preparing to make it my career.

Who is a different (professional, college, high school or childhood) coach you look(ed) up to?

A coach I looked up to while growing up was Pat Summitt, who was a pioneer and legend in the world of women’s basketball.

Why do you thinking coaching is important to the body of Christ?

I think coaching is important because it is an opportunity to build community and be a mentor. College students are going through some of the most foundational and pivotal moments of their lives during their four years of undergrad. To be able to impact them and influence them in a way to help them navigate these years is such an important part.

Ben Sounders: Men’s Golf Head Coach

August 31, 2017

How long have you been coaching?

I am entering my fifth year of coaching. I spent the last four years assisting the men’s and women’s golf teams, and this will be my first year as a head golf coach.

What is the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is the development of players. Sure, I am trying to develop better golfers, but more importantly I want to develop the men on the golf team to be men of God. I want to aid in preparing them for life after college.

Why were you interested in working at Wheaton College?

I was interested in working at Wheaton the day I left campus. I attended Wheaton College as an undergraduate and the moment I left, I knew I wanted to come back and be a part of the community and culture that Wheaton College offers to students and employees.

When did decide to become a coach?

With every year of golf that I played, my passion for the game grew and once I graduated from college, I knew that I still wanted to be involved with Wheaton Golf. That is when the head coaches at the time hired me to assist the men’s and women’s teams so that I could gain the experience.

Who is a different (professional, college, high school or childhood) coach you look(ed) up to?

There are many coaches that I look up to, ranging from Coach John Wooden (Former UCLA Basketball Coach) to Coach Mike Small (Golf Coach at University of Illinois). However, there is one coach that I look up most to and seek advice from and that is my older brother, Ryan. He is the Men’s Soccer Coach at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He has had a lot of success coaching soccer at the college level, but he is my best friend and I look to emulate the life that he lives as a man of God and as a coach.

Why do you thinking coaching is important to the body of Christ?

We all need someone to coach us to grow in faith. All coaches want to be successful when it comes to the win/loss column, but I am not certain that is what is most important. Our salvation in Christ is what is most important, and the body of Christ needs coaches in order to lead us to the cross day in and day out.

Were you an athlete in high school/college?

I was an athlete both in high school and college. I am a local guy. I grew up in Wheaton and attended Wheaton Academy. There I played four years of golf and baseball and two years of basketball. I was recruited to play golf at Wheaton College. There, I lettered four years in golf.

What is one word that you would use to describe yourself?

I would use the word “driven.” Those who know me know that I am driven to succeed and I hate to lose. I try not to be complacent and I strive to get better every day, whether it is in coaching or in my walk with the Lord. I am trying to never stand still. I am always dedicated to moving forward.

Women’s Golf Swings with Change

August 24, 2017

The Wheaton Women’s Golf team hopes to challenge their competition throughout their season this year, while also adjusting to new changes.

Head Coach Allison Paluchniak was hired by the Wheaton Athletic Department in July of this year, according to the CCIW website.

Paluchniak graduated from Trinity Christian College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, according to the CCIW website. Wheaton Athletics also decided to utilize Paluchniak’s coaching abilities on the basketball court when they hired her as an assistant coach for the Wheaton Women’s Basketball team.

Paluchniak sees promising potential for her new team this season. “[Since it is] my first year, I’m still getting the lay of the land for the conference, but I would love to see us compete at each event and then be at our best at the end of the year for our conference tournament.”

According to Paluchniak, the Wheaton golf team recruited three freshmen this year. “Last year there were no freshman on the women’s golf team. I’m excited for the competition of this season.”

There are five varsity positions and seven rostered golfers, which will increase competition and therefore skill within the team, according to Paluchniak.

“Illinois Wesleyan and Carthage should be our toughest competition,” Paluchniak said.

Illinois Wesleyan won the CCIW women’s golf championship and Carthage was runner-up last year, according to the conference website. Wheaton placed fourth last season; Madeline Bond, who graduated last year, was Wheaton’s top individual finisher, in addition to graduated senior Ariana Kim who was close behind, earning 12th and 14th place, respectively.

While they graduated their two top performers, Paluchniak said that the team has great leadership in the four upperclassmen on the team. “They have already shown tremendous leadership abilities both on and off the course,” Paluchniak said. “They will be looked to throughout the season to be some of our top performers as well as lead our team.”

The Wheaton women’s golf team will travel to Bristol Oaks Country Club in Wisconsin to compete in the Carthage College Shootout on the Border on Sept. 1 starting at 12 p.m. and Sept. 2 at 9 a.m.

Golf Recap

This past week marked the closing of the regular season for golf. Both the men’s and women’s golf teams closed out their regular season with top five finishes at their respective tournaments. The women finished second at the Carthage College Spring Invitational on Tuesday, April 25. The men placed fourth in a field of 17 at the Weist Foundation Classic on April 22.

Before playing in the Carthage College Spring Invitational, the women were at the UW-Whitewater Spring Fling, where they tied for sixth out of 16. Senior Madeline Bond shot 164 to earn a fourth-place finish. Fellow senior Ariana Kim shot a 180 in the tournament.

At their last tournament, the Carthage invitational, Wheaton had three top ten finishers. Kim tied for second with 81, while Bond tied for fourth at 82 strokes. Goranson carded 90 to take ninth place. The Carthage invitational marks the last tournament of the women’s season since they will not be in the NCAA tournament. For their 2016-2017 season, the Thunder never placed lower than eighth where there was a team score. They claimed three second place finishes.

Looking to next year, sophomore Karissa Raschke stated, “We have some really great recruits joining our team in the fall so I’m excited for next season.”

At the Weist Foundation Classic, the men had two top ten finishers. Junior Adam Easton led the Thunder with 146 strokes, taking second place. Sophomore Drew Engelking tied for 10th at 149. Juniors Richard Moomjian and Luke Grogger carded 161 and 169, respectively. The men will be continuing into the CCIW Men’s Golf Championships May 4-6 and are looking to improve upon their sixth-place finish from last year.