Janke selected to compete at 2022 NCAA Golf Championship

Cole Jahnke is one of six athletes selected to compete individually at the 2022 NCAA DIII Golf Championship

Claire Schoenemann

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Photo by Claire Schoenemann

Jahnke is a fourth year athlete who is currently ranked 52nd for NCAA DIII Men’s Golf.

Cole Jahnke, a fourth-year marketing student-athlete, was one of six athletes individually selected to compete at the 2022 NCAA DIII Golf Championship

After being ranked 52nd among the NCAA Men’s DIII Golfers, Jahnke was individually selected and will be the only golfer individually representing both the WIAC and midwest region in the championship. 

Jahnke is going into the NCAA DIII Championship with two top ten finishes and two top 25 finishes this season. Jahnke has an adjusted score average of 73.94 this season as the top golfer for the Blugolds. 

Jahnke said that going into his spring season, he knew he was in the mix to qualify individually. In his first three years competing, qualifying individually didn’t seem like something that was reachable for him. 

“It feels great,” Jahnke said. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity… going into this I don’t really have the highest of expectations, it’s more so just a great moment for me, i’m just going to go enjoy myself.” 

Head coach Darrin Skinner began his coaching career at UW-Eau Claire in April of 2018. Skinner said that at the time he began coaching, Jahnke was the one recruit coming into the UW-Eau Claire men’s golf program in the fall. 

The pair have coached and golfed alongside each other for the past four years. Skinner said that a big part of watching Jahnke grow has been setting clear goals with him throughout the process.

“At the end of his freshman year, I said, ‘Cole, you have an extreme amount of talent and we just need to have these particular items cleaned up,’ Skinner said. 

Skinner said that Jahnke went from having a 77 scoring average his first year to having a 73 scoring average his second year. Jahnke went from being fourth and fifth on the roster, to claiming All-American Honors in the spring of 2020. 

Competing in the NCAA DIII Championships are 43 qualifying teams, and six individual qualifiers nationally. 

Skinner said that there are at least 2,500 DIII golfers nationwide, and Jahnke qualifying to be one of those top six individual players and making it to the NCAA championship competition is a big milestone for Jahnke. 

Former Blugold Ryan Isaacson was the last athlete on the UW-Eau Claire men’s golf team to individually qualify for the NCAA DIII Championships in 2018

Jahnke said that at the time of Isaacson’s qualification, he was a senior in high school. Jahnke said he remembers thinking that Isaacson’s individual qualification as one of six in the nation was incredible. 

Four years later, Jahnke said that he wasn’t aware that his name was in the hat this season. He spent the winter building a schedule of work and practice with his teammates, and investing time in the game. 

“I owe a lot to my teammates, all those guys they know how to push me, they know when I need to be pushed, and they also know that it’s just relaxing, it’s just golf, and let’s have fun,“ Jahnke said. 

Skinner said that as a primarily young team, Jahnke has been a role model for underclassmen and incoming athletes. Skinner said that Jahnke demonstrates a balance that allows him to be successful again and again on the golf course. 

“He’s got a routine and a structure. That doesn’t mean that all you do is just practice, practice, practice, but he has one that’s healthy that gives him a balance and allows him to be mentally fit,” Skinner said. 

Skinner said that he is grateful to have Jahnke here and that he has worked hard throughout his career to earn this individual spot at the NCAA DIII Championships. 

Jahnke said that he plans to return in the fall as a fifth-year student to compete in his final year of competitive eligibility. 

“I do want to, you know, thank my teammates again because I know those nine guys will be cheering me on from Eau Claire,“ Jahnke said. “Those guys have been awesome all year and I wish they could come with me. It’s been a great year so far.”

The NCAA DIII Championship competition begins on May 10-13 and will be held at Mission Inn Resort and Club, in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. 

The competition will be hosted by the Oglethorpe and Greater Orlando Sports Commission. The championship will consist of 72 holes of play or will conclude after the last fully completed round.

After the first 36 holes of competition are played, the qualifiers will be limited to the top 18 teams golfing and the top six individuals not on those 18 teams. 

For live results, scores and leaderboard updates visit the NCAA webpage. Follow Jahnke as he golfs on the individual player leaderboard. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected].