Haskell Golf Team Travels to Florida

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The Seminole tribe of Florida sponsors Haskell Golf members PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship trip. 

by Raquel Butler

Five members of the Haskell Golf team were given the opportunity to play in the 29th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship. William Wilson, Joshua Little Axe (Seniors), Deryk Speck (Junior), Trevor Pueblo (Sophomore), and Josiah Kurley (Freshman) are all eager to show their best while they’re in Florida.

“I am very proud to be able to represent Haskell.” stated Speck. “It’s an opportunity I never thought I would get in college. The whole experience motivates me, and the fact that I’m representing Haskell at a national level makes me want to do that much better this week.”

Head golf coach Gary Tanner states, “We hope to represent Haskell well. Our players are peeking, as they should be toward the end of the season, so if we can put up low scores this one last time we will be happy with the results.”

The team believes that this trip is more than just a golf championship. Coming from Native American backgrounds, playing against other minorities is something special to them.

“For me personally it’s a great opportunity, going from only golfing two and a half years ago to being able to travel and play in tournaments like this, but even more so for Native Americans as a whole. This could open up the door for others to want to play golf, or to even play college golf up at Haskell,” says Pueblo.

Little Axe chose to miss his graduation to be able to come down and play with his team one last time, commenting, “This tournament is an amazing opportunity not only for myself, but for my tribe and all of Indian nations to represent as a whole. There’s no other opportunity like this for any of us and I think it’s really awesome to be here today.” Little Axe has also seen an advance in the golf program, “We’ve come a long way, from just having two or three players to having nine or ten people on the team and for another tribe to send us to a tournament this big. It just goes to show that we’ve really expanded.”

Without the help of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, this trip wouldn’t have been made possible for this team. The tribe generously sponsored the Haskell Golf Team to be able to play in this tournament. Pueblo says, “thank you for hosting our team while we’re here playing and making memories”

Team as they prepare to board plane. Coach Tanner, Deryk Speck, Josiah Kurley, Trevor Pueblo, William Wilson, Joshua Little Axe

Team as they prepare to board plane. Coach Tanner, Deryk Speck, Josiah Kurley, Trevor Pueblo, William Wilson, Joshua Little Axe

The flight from Kansas City to Fort Lauderdale was Speck’s first time in a plane. He says, “Having the flight paid for by another tribe so that I could come down and play with my team and other minorities made my first flight even more meaningful.”

Not only did The Seminole Tribe sponsor the team to come, but they also had a day for the golfers to go to the Big Cypress Reservation and learn more about the Florida Seminole Tribe. The team was able to go on the Billie Swamp Safari, as well as a Buggy tour to see the landscape and some of the wild life of the reservation.

Water Buffalo spotted on the Billie Swamp Safari

Water Buffalo spotted on the Billie Swamp Safari

Pueblo commented, “I’ve learned a lot at Haskell about other tribes, but being able to come see another reservation and to be taught about their land, wild life, and how they used their plants for medicine was really neat, and a great opportunity for me to learn more.”

Team on air boat, ready for safari

Team on air boat, ready for safari

“Thank you Seminole Tribe for helping us make this trip possible and for helping us understand more about your culture by showing us tribal things on the reservation, where you come from, and how you are growing as a tribe,” commented Coach Tanner.

Today the team will start with their practice rounds for the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.

Early morning at the driving range

Early morning at the driving range