Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Samson Martinez

Junior Samson Martinez defines “family” in his own special way. He refers to it as a verb rather than a noun. Family relates to the people he’s close to, to the people that support him through his life, his struggles and his successes. He considers his closest friends to be family even though they are not blood-related, Martinez said. Martinez’s list of priorities is straightforward: God, family, work and school, friends and golf. Yes, golf is last on that list. However, Martinez said the relationships he forms with his teammates go far beyond the sport itself.

“They’re not just my golf teammates, they’re like a family to me and I would do anything for them. We care for each other like brothers,” Martinez said.

With so many high priorities in his life, Martinez said that golf practice allows him the opportunity to work on a variety of other priorities in his life.

“For me, golf practice, although it’s really hard and vigorous and makes me want to get better at my game, it’s also my social hours because I’m just out there for two and a half hours with some of my best friends at Whitworth and it makes for a great time,” Martinez said. “Golf helps me to fulfill those priorities.”

Everything Martinez involves himself heavily in, whether it be golf, academics, being a resident advisor or filling in as a babysitter, Martinez involves himself in because he sees the opportunity to develop the familial relationships in them, Martinez said.

“I just have this belief that when you ‘family’ each other, when you grow as brothers and not just friends, that bond allows you to accept that we’re not going to always believe the same thing, we’re not always going to agree with one another, we’re not always going to like each other but we will always be there for each other and we will always support each other through our life events,” Martinez said.

That mentality is taken directly from the way Martinez interacts with his own family.

“Some people feel like when their family comes to watch them play tournaments they feel like an added pressure or they don’t like it,” junior Oliver Rudnicki said. “Not the case at all with Samson, he likes them being there and being able to watch him.”

However, with all of the commitments Martinez has, it is still important for him to make everything a priority.

“The last thing I would ever want is to be with my teammates or be with my residents and have them get this vibe that I’m not fully invested in them,” Martinez said. “The best way to make an impact on the people around you is to fully invest in them and have their complete focus or have your complete focus on them.”

Even his coach has taken notice of the way Martinez keeps balance in his life.

“From my vantage point, he manages it all pretty well. I mean he’ll hit the books, he’ll tell me [he’ll be studying] four hours on a Friday night because he knew the weekend was busy and we had a tournament,” Head Coach Warren Friedrichs said. “He will hammer through a class while everyone else is out there having a good time.”

Despite the great deal of time and effort Martinez has to invest in order to push himself in everything he does, it is undoubtedly worth it in the end, Martinez said.

“People have asked me to sacrifice a couple things but I just can’t get myself to do it because every single thing I’m involved in right now has changed my life in an amazing way,” Martinez said.

However, on the days when things do not go the way Martinez expects them to, at least in golf, he leaves a reminder for himself on the head cover for one of his drivers.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

“Life’s not always going to be perfect, but I have a hope that God has a plan for me that’s better than I think,” Martinez said.

If that plan is any better than what Martinez is living out right now, then it should be pretty good.


Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Golf teams close out PLU Tourney with wins across the board

Whitworth golf made a strong drive onto the NWC golf scene last weekend with first place finishes from both the men’s and women’s teams. The Pirate women found themselves ahead of their PLU hosts by 11 shots with a team score of 318 following the first day of competition. Junior Chelsea Bayley held on to first place in the individual player standings after hitting a two over par score of 74. Sophomore Michal Schuster was close behind with a score of 76 to finish second in the player standings after the first day. Senior Nicole Lomax was tied for seventh with 81 while freshman Katie Ochoa shot an 87 with junior Yvonne LaCoursiere rounding the day out for Whitworth with an 88.

In addition to the success of the women after the first day, the junior-heavy Whitworth men held their own to secure a 295 team score. Junior Oliver Rudnicki held on to the lead with a three under score of 69, while junior Tyler McQuilken landed in fifth with 74. Tied for sixth was junior Samson Martinez with 75, followed by junior Austin Billeter and junior Andrew Dodge with 77 each.

“First tournament of the year, just wanted to see how everyone was playing,” Head Coach Warren Friedrichs said. “We’ve got new people in the lineup on a more regular basis depending on what they’ve seen in the past.”

Friedrichs went on to say that there was no specific point total they were aiming for as teams after the first day.

“You never know how the course is playing, [especially] because we haven’t played here in a long time so I didn’t remember the course. It was pretty dry in the rough area so the ball runs out,” Friedrichs said.

The second day proved to be almost a mirror image of the first as far as scores went. Both teams held on to their leads and went on to win the tournament.

Bayley shot another 74 to retain first place in the player standings, while Schuster tied for second with two golfers from Lewis & Clark. The rest of the women’s team improved upon their scores from the previous day, highlighted by Lomax coming back to hit a 75. In addition, Ochoa dropped six strokes from her first outing to finish the second day with 82, while LaCoursiere dropped two strokes to finish with 86.

“I was three under through 11, and then on 12 I hit a good drive and I had the ball below my feet for the second shot into the par 5 and I ended up hooking it out of bounds,” Bayley said. “That was probably the most difficult shot I had all day.”

Despite her strong driving on the first day, Bayley turned to a different part of her game to secure her second 74.

“I definitely putted well today. I hit the ball well yesterday but I hit some putts today to keep the scores the same,” Bayley said.

Much like the women, the men’s team continued their sharp shooting on the second day with another team score under 300 as they secured the team victory. The Pirates edged out George Fox and Puget Sound despite low team scores from both squads on the second outing. Rudnicki clinched the individual player victory with a second 69, while Martinez came back to hit a 74 to end up tied for sixth. Billeter shot 76, McQuilken shot 80 and Dodge pulled out an 82 to give the Pirates a score of 299 for the second outing.

“For me, as opposed to the other tournaments these past two weeks, it was my putting. I was hitting quite a few putts that I haven’t really made in other tournaments,” Rudnicki said.

Rudnicki also said that there was a fair amount of planning for the approach to each hole.

“We talked about what kind of shots we wanted to hit off the tees on certain holes and not be too aggressive, but the course wasn’t a really difficult course,” Rudnicki said. “The fairways were pretty hard so there was plenty of holes you could Birdie, so you just kind of needed to get past the tough holes to give yourself an opportunity to score on the easiest holes.”

Both golf teams travel to Oregon this weekend to compete in the Pacific University Invite on Saturday and Sunday.


Connor Soudani

Sports Editor