taconic golf club

The Williams College women's golf team, which calls Taconic Golf Club home, is competing this week at the NCAA Division III Championships.

The ultimate goal for the Williams College women’s golf team is to win an NCAA Division III championship this week. If the Ephs can raise a lot of money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berkshire County, so much the better.

“As a college, all the programs are doing some outreach for the community and our women’s team decided they wanted to do some fundraising for mental health,” Williams coach Tomas Adalsteinsson said. “They came across this National Alliance on Mental Illness in the Berkshires.

“We want to somehow figure a way how we can support and promote mental health in Berkshire County and our local communities. We did this at the NESCAC Championship, where we played ‘Birdies for Berkshire,’ so people are able to donate money for each birdie we would make during the NESCAC Championship. That went really well and we were able to collect a good amount of funds for this organization.

“We enjoyed it so much, so we’re trying to collect more birdies for a good cause.”

Adalsteinsson and his Ephs are in Houston, Texas, for Tuesday’s start of the NCAA Division III Tournament. There are 22 conference champions and seven at-large teams in the field at Bay Oaks Country Club. Williams is one of the seven at-large teams, after the Ephs lost to Amherst in the NESCAC Championships over the weekend. Amherst finished with a 610 score on its home course, while Williams was second with 621.

The Ephs raised about $1,000 so far, just from the NESCAC championship. Anyone interested in contributing can find more information on the Williams Women’s Golf Team’s Twitter feed @ephwomensgolf.

“Obviously, we’re competitive and all the ladies on the team, they have goals they want to achieve. But it’s also fun to be able to think a little bit about the bigger picture,” the coach said, “and play for a greater cause than just the results. It blends well together to play for a good cause and compete for a national title.”

Williams is in Texas looking for its first NCAA championship since 2015. Under Adalsteinsson, Williams finished fourth in 2017 and was the runner-up in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the Ephs lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the second playoff hole. In 2019, Williams finished five shots behind champion New York University.

“It’s been a great year for us,” Adalsteinsson said, in an interview with The Eagle after his team practiced Monday morning. “We come in as a third seed, which we’re excited about. We have an experienced team, with two seniors who played here three years ago when we were runners-up. We have good memories from here.”

The Ephs also have an experienced group. Senior Jessica Kim and junior Catalin Yturralde finished tied for third in the NESCAC championships. Sophomore Tianyi Zhuang was tied for fifth, while senior Olivia White was seventh and junior Malini Rudra was eighth.

Adalsteinsson said it’s one of the deepest fields ever in the D-III tournament. Emory University, Carnegie-Mellon University and reigning national champion Methodist are among the teams from out of New England who could be among the favorites. While Williams is seeded third, the coach said you can’t count out an Amherst team that just took home the NESCAC hardware.

“There are a good seven or eight teams that could compete” for the title, Adalsteinsson said. “That really hasn’t been the case in quite some time, if ever.”

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. 

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.