Golf team excited about Summerland recruit
Having seen Sydney Clement's swing, Tim Eckberg knows the first ever recruit for Cardinal Stritch University Wolves women's golf team has talent.
Eckberg, coach of the Wolves, said the Summerland Secondary School grad will be a very good player for his team entering the 2013-14 season.
"She's going to do some really great things here in her four years," said Eckberg, after the school issued press release last week about the commitment.
Eckberg recalled an incident with Clement at an indoor dome in which they were sitting around hitting wedge shots. It's a story he expects to retell the rest of his career.
"She was going after this bucket, and couldn't quite hit it," explained Eckberg. "She was all around it. Every shot was close. She'd hit the front of the bucket, she'd hit the back of the bucket but it would never go in the bucket. She must have kept hitting this same shot for hours until she'd make the shot. I just loved that. That's the kind of stuff that I want out of every player."
Eckberg is impressed with Clement's determination and drive in addition to the talent she already has.
She did make the shot, which was roughly 60 yards away, and when it happened, Eckberg said everyone cheered.
"It was funny to see," he said.
Clement said that she first contacted the school and further communication followed. Eckberg chuckled when told she was the one that did the pestering, but feels it was both sides and added that he found her profile on a recruiting website.
"I really feel like I'm extremely lucky to have her here," said Eckberg, talking on his cell phone while on a recruiting road trip. "I think that much of her. I don't really honestly believe she knows how good she is. When she starts to figure that out, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch."
Eckberg, who is the first coach of the Wolves' men's and women's program, said he doesn't like the idea of expectations but said they will be competitive. Eckberg also said if he "could get 10 Sydneys and have that be my team, we would be in very, very good shape."
Clement said she's super-excited.
"I have worked my whole life for it," said Clement, 18, who didn't start playing the sport seriously until Grade 9. "It was kind of like a relief to know that I have reached my goal."
It all came together starting in January. Clement chose the Wolves because she liked the idea of attending a smaller school with 7,000 students.
"It's very academic-based," said Clement, who plans to study sports management as she would like to become a teaching professional or work in golf. "I was initially concerned about the move until I visited the school. It felt kind of homey. I don't think it will be much of a shock."
Clement, who looks up to Michelle Wie who turned pro as a 13-year-old, said she gained valuable playing experience in B.C. tournaments. Clement's interest in the sport started because her brother played and the family enjoys the game. One her favourite memories is playing in a tournament with her brother, which they won twice.
Playing at the Summerland Golf and Country Club, the five-foot-11 golfer set a course record by shooting a minus-2. She was also the low finisher for her team in each of the tournaments the program competed in. During her high school career, Clement made the 2009 Zone 2 British Columbia Sumer Games team while finishing ninth.
One thing about Clement that blew Eckberg away is her maturity.
"Everybody just raves about how good of a person she is," said Eckberg "She got along with everybody. She's quirky and she's funny. You need people like that."