Prep Sports

Cedar Rapids Xavier golfer Ellie Braksiek continues to train with hopes to compete

Senior all-stater still able to hit the driving range and course, physical training done at home

Ellie Braksiek from Xavier hits from the bunker during the 2019 Rotary Pribyl Junior Golf Classic at the Cedar Rapids Co
Ellie Braksiek from Xavier hits from the bunker during the 2019 Rotary Pribyl Junior Golf Classic at the Cedar Rapids Country Club on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Xavier's Ellie Braksiek remains optimistic for a senior golf season.

If she doesn’t have the opportunity to add to her prep accomplishments that includes two consecutive fifth-place state tournament finishes, summer competition still awaits. If events continue to be postponed or canceled, her college career begins in the fall.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, obviously,” Braksiek said. “No one does, but I think it would be awesome if we would get a senior season, even if it’s just part of it. It is something we look forward to and work hard for.”

Training is a constant for Braksiek, despite no meetings, practice rounds or outings with her Saints teammates while the spring golf season is suspended. The goal is to be ready when the routine returns to normal.

“If we do have a season, hopefully, I’ll be more prepared,” Braksiek said. “It puts you at ease, knowing you’re working for something. I know I’m going to have summer tournaments and Iowa State to come.”

The two-time all-state and all-Mississippi Valley Conference performer practiced indoors at Elmcrest Country Club’s golf learning center. She jumped on the driving range when it opened Monday and the course became available Wednesday, according to Braksiek.

Spring Break precedes the start of the season and has served as one last respite before the focus turns to competition. The situation is oddly different this year.

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“This is the time you’re preparing for it (the season),” Braksiek said. “I’ve worked all winter for this moment and it’s not happening, so it’s kind of weird.

“The future is uncertain. Hopefully, the work I’m doing will prepare me for my summer season and possibly my last high school season.”

Athletes cannot have official contact with high school coaches or hold team workouts, Braksiek will hone her craft on the driving range and play rounds when weather allows. She sharpens mechanics during individual lessons with golf guru Larry Gladson.

Braksiek’s physical regimen normally includes weight training three times a week with Elmcrest trainer Cory Hannen. She has also incorporated yoga. Running provides a cardiovascular workout, helping when she has to tote a full golf bag around the course.

Elmcrest’s gym is currently closed, so she has been doing things on her own.

“The trainer is sending us workouts to do at home,” Braksiek said. “He’s been really good about it.”

The mental approach is also being addressed at this time. Iowa State coaches reached out to Braksiek and another player from Australia. They started reading “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, which covers the way to build good habits and break bad ones.

Braksiek expected to discuss the book in a video chat Thursday.

“There are limits on what you can do,” Braksiek said about the current policies for self-isolation and social distancing. “I’ve met the team but I haven’t been with them or with the coaches for a lot of time, but it’s cool they are already reaching out to us. I was blown away by that. It’s pretty exciting.”

The future is set for Braksiek, regardless of this season’s fate. Some aren’t so fortunate. Younger golfers will miss the exposure and the chance to attract college coaches’ attention.

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“I’m just thinking of all the juniors, who might not have their season,” Braksiek said. “Junior season is so important to gain interest and be seen by college coaches. It’s huge that decision is already there (for me). I already know where I’m going.”

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.co

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