Amy Ahlers is the type of person who not just cares for others, but makes them feel it. In the aftermath of an unforgettable day, Ahlers smiled wide while overjoyed teammates surrounded her and then took several group selfies with the champion. The act of winning the GPAC title was an individual accomplishment by Ahlers, but it was hard to tell who was more excited on that historic day in Columbus, Neb. Was it Ahlers? Or was it her teammates? Perhaps mom and dad.
Even as a fierce competitor on the course, Ahlers makes friends and fans of opposing players and coaches.
“That doesn’t stop with her teammates,” said head coach Brett Muller of the respect Ahlers has earned. “I had multiple coaches come up to me either before or after the tournament and tell me how very deserving Amy is to be player of the year and to represent the conference at the national tournament. People are excited for her. There’s been an outpour of congratulatory comments. She definitely feels the love.”
Ahlers has the maturity not to take anything for granted or get caught up in her own success. The right attitude and demeanor have helped the Albion, Neb., native accomplish something that has been a goal of hers ever since settling on Concordia. Win the GPAC. Earn a trip to nationals. Yes, this story has a fairytale ending.
The thing is, it won’t change the way Ahlers conducts herself and the way she treats others. Not one bit. No wonder there was such genuine happiness for Ahlers on May 2 when she rallied back to take the conference title. Big hugs were shared between Amy and her parents, Terry and Nancy, and several others.
“It has been so incredible. Through this whole process I’ve just learned how blessed I am,” Ahlers said. “I have the most incredible people in my life. It’s crazy. The last couple of weeks I’ve talked to people that I haven’t talked to in years. It’s just so fun with how many people have reached out. It’s definitely been eye-opening. It’s made me really appreciative of what I have. I couldn’t have done it without all of them.”
Just as ‘incredible’ and ‘crazy’ are the numbers Ahlers has accumulated throughout her career. The best player in the program the moment she stepped foot on campus, Ahlers has won 11 tournaments in her four seasons. Out of 39 events played, she’s placed in the top 10 of 32 of them. She’s been a seven-time GPAC golfer of the week, a four-time all-conference winner and now a GPAC champion. Her current season average of 80.27 is a school record.
Looking for a flaw? That’s going to be tough to find. In the classroom, she finished with a near spotless GPA. Now a graduate with degrees in elementary and special education, Ahlers is a CoSIDA Academic All-American and a NAIA Scholar-Athlete. She has the makings of becoming that elementary teacher that everyone remembers. She is someone who positively influences all people she meets, but she’s still looking for a teaching job. (Seriously? Hire her while you still can!)
Things will work out just fine for Ahlers. She’s already shown that she will do what it takes to make her dreams come to life.
“Obviously Amy’s put in a ton of time,” Muller said. “She’s had some disappointment the last couple years with being very close (to winning the GPAC) her sophomore year and then again her junior year. She definitely didn’t finish the way she wanted to. She changed her mindset going into the spring GPAC to be in more of an attack mode. Instead of hoping it would happen, she made it happen.”
With her college diploma secured, Ahlers plans on playing a lot of golf over the next couple of weeks as she prepares for the national championships. The grand event will take place May 23-26 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Ahlers, Muller, assistant coach Shawn Rodehorst and freshman Murphy Sears will make the journey together.
In many ways, the pressure has lifted from Ahlers. After GPAC finishes of fourth, second and third, respectively, her first three years, Ahlers made it known that it was her time now. The reward is a trip to sunny Florida.
“I feel like this is just bonus golf now,” Ahlers said. “I am so excited. I’m pretty competitive so I know when I get down to Florida my competitive juices will start flowing. I’m playing in Milford and Lincoln the next couple of weeks and trying to fine tune a couple of things.”
Always critical of her own game, Ahlers admitted, “At GPAC my putting was just awful. I don’t know what the problem was.”
But Ahlers always finds a way to come back strong, like the time as a freshman when she took an ELEVEN on one particular hole. It was one of very few embarrassing moments Ahlers has endured on the golf course.
“It was at Whispering Creek (in Sioux City) and I got in one of the fescues and I could not get out,” said Ahlers while laughing. She’s over it now. She continued, “Never in my life have I taken a double digit number on a hole, not even in high school. It was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done. I had to write it down and keep it all day long.”
About the only time lately that you would have caught Ahlers without a smile on her face is when she had to say goodbye to her teammates. As the lone senior on the women’s golf roster, Ahlers has been someone the rest of the team has looked up to. What better, more caring or more successful leader could they possibly have had to lean upon?
Ahlers is a one-of-kind person that has made mom and dad proud – and Concordia. The only sad thing is that it all goes too fast.
Says Ahlers, “I honestly don’t even have words for it. After GPAC ended, I thought maybe I’d have some time to think about it all and gather my thoughts. It has been so incredible. When I decided to come to Concordia, I just took a leap of faith. I could not be happier with my decision. I’ve met such incredible people and I’ve grown so much as a person. I don’t know if it would have happened anywhere else.
“If I could stay a little longer I definitely would.”
You’re welcome any time, Amy.
Ahlers named CoSIDA All-District selection
For the third year in a row, Ahlers has been chosen by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as an Academic All-District choice. Also a 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-American, Ahlers again finds herself on the All-District 3 team of the College Division.
The CoSIDA Academic All-District™ Teams have been released to recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. For more information about the Academic All-District™ and Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit http://cosida.com.
GPAC champion and GPAC golfer of the year, Ahlers is now eligible to again earn Academic All-America honors. She will soon be tabbed a NAIA Scholar-Athlete for the second year in a row. On the course, she has garnered all-conference recognition all four years.