Denver's Cone shows her mental toughness
WOLCOTT, Colo. – There was one noticeable blemish Monday on Lindsay Cone’s scorecard. As in, there were double digits on a single hole. In the world of fast-paced downhill skiing, which constitutes the other half of Cone’s life, you might say she missed the gate on that one.
But she recovered beautifully.
Cone is a two-sport athlete at Denver, and the first that head women’s golf coach Sammie Chergo has coached. She measures in at 6-feet-2-inches, and oozes athleticism. Still, at the par-4 sixth hole at Red Sky Golf Club’s Fazio Course, it just wasn’t her day in the sand. Cone went 6 over at that hole after struggling out of a bunker, shook it off, then went on to birdie her next two holes. She finished at 4-over 76.
“I just screwed up a littler bit – a few times,” Cone explained after the first round of the Golfweek Conference Challenge. “I turned it around quick.”
Cone’s short-term memory bodes well for this game. Cone began life as a competitive skier, and has been racing since she was a youngster growing up in Killington, Vt. But when you’re a skier, there’s gold to be found in the ski conditions out west. After a year of skiing and golfing at St. Lawrence, a Division III in Canton, N.Y. where Cone won a national title in giant slalom, she moved to Denver and picked up right where she had left off as a two-sport athlete. Denver’s Alpine team won the Division I national title in 2010, and finished fifth in 2011. She played in one golf tournament with the Pioneers each of those seasons.
Cone’s dad and younger brother Robert also ski and play golf, and Robert is a member of the U.S Ski Team. Cone didn’t start playing golf competitively until she was a freshman in college, but noticed a difference immediately in her skiing.
“I found that when my (golf) game was good in the summer or in that fall, my skiing improved,” Cone said. “Mentally, I find them to be pretty similar.”
Through skiing, Cone also found a common bond with Chergo, who grew up in nearby Winter Park and was a nationally ranked skier until she was 16. Chergo skis with Cone when she can in the winters. Because of Cone’s presence on the team, her teammates have a better understanding of downhill skiing, too.
“(Lindsay is) as mentally strong and competitive as any athlete I’ve been around,” Chergo said.
Cone’s trek back to campus for her senior season proves that statement. When Hurricane Irene blew through her hometown of Killington – leaving her home untouched but destroying others in the neighborhood – Cone lugged 100 pounds of gear through two miles of woods after police shut down exit roads.
“It was a little muddy but nothing like any of the ski workouts that we do regularly,” Cone said.
She was inundated with media requests when her story got out, and happily granted them all, knowing it would create awareness of a grave situation back home.
“They only opened the roads a few days ago, which is like a month later,” Cone explained. “It was hard on the town and I don’t think many people realized how bad it was, so (the media attention) was good in that perspective.”
Down the road, Cone, a finance major, has a goal of skiing in the Olympics, or maybe just World Cup racing (what she calls the skiing equivalent of playing on the LPGA tour).
“I would like to make the U.S. Ski Team but we’ll see because you only can ski for so long – golf is more of a lifelong game,” she said. “I’m definitely trying to get my golf game better so I can compete down the road at the top level.”