It is easy to get lost in transition. Change is difficult and being able to cope with a new environment in a swift manner is an impressive accomplishment. However, progressing into that new period, and continually breaking down the boundaries is what separates the good from the great – and Mia Kness is great.
Before her two individual titles and becoming the second golfer in program history to do so, and before even coming to Seton Hall, Kness did not know much about her eventual school of choice. It was not until the biggest match of her high school career in the state championship that she would discover she was meant to be a Pirate.
In the midst of winning the championship for Peters High School in Pennsylvania, Kness met Sarah Doell, the head coach for the women’s golf program at the time. It was from there that Kness uncovered where she wanted to be.
“I visited a ton of schools, but everything led me back to Seton Hall,” Kness said. “Seton Hall was always in the back of my mind. When I walked on campus, I fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to come here.
The most influential, contributing factor to wanting to play for Seton Hall was the team comradery. Many students experience a “This is it” moment when visiting a prospective school, but that instance came in the shape of two future team members when making her trip to South Orange.
“I think it was Cassie (Pantelas) and Mackey (Fouse), my former teammates,” Kness said. “They took me around on a tour and I was like, ‘Wow, these girls are awesome. I really want to play with them’.”
After signing with Seton Hall and beginning her tenure as a student-athlete, Kness, as a freshman, would have a huge let-me-introduce-myself type of season to the conference as she leaped from high school to Division I. In her first collegiate season, she would go on to capture the Big East Freshman of the Year and be named to both the All-Big East team and the Big East All-Tournament team. Through all the accolades, the team attitude she found while being recruited to Seton Hall was the aspect that helped her the most on the course.
“I was very nervous going into freshman year, coming in as the only freshman on the team,” Kness said. “But with the girls, they made me feel so comfortable and welcoming, and I never thought I would achieve any of those accomplishments. The team made it easy too because I was so comfortable, and it was so welcoming. I had fun in playing golf with them.”
Yet, her proudest moment came when the team won the Brown Bear Invitational. Kness described winning the tournament as the “turning point to Seton Hall women’s golf.” As the program swept the field, it signaled an important moment for the squad, especially after going through a change at the helm and having first year head coach Natalie Desjardins lead the unit. It was a weekend Kness said where “it all came together, and we were so excited to get everything started”.
In her sophomore season, Kness continued to display the skills that propelled her to great heights during her freshman year. Although she got off to a slow start in the fall, Kness catapulted her play in the spring and won the William & Mary Intercollegiate, also placing top ten in the Edisto Island Invitational.
As an individual, Kness has been able to succeed greatly. But, what she would want most is for the team to continue the success they have been having in recent years, and with their full starting lineup returning next year, Kness believes their peak has no ceiling.
“I think the individual titles are great, but I want to win as a team,” Kness said. “We want to win the Big East again. We want to keep going, two-peat, three-peat, four-peat. So, the individual titles are great but I would like to win a Big East Championship with my team. We have the talent, we have the girls to do it.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo.