Photo By Hillary Ehlen
From fairways to hallways, FM native Sarah Storandt is on pace to establish her professional career just two years after graduating. Teaching math in addition to coaching girl’s golf and basketball, the Bison alumni went straight from a successful student-teaching experience at Fargo South High School to deploying her newfound knowledge and helping develop the skills of both students and athletes.
NDSU Golf Accomplishments
- Played 118 rounds of golf as a Bison, tying her with Amy Anderson for the most rounds in program history
- Named to The Summit League Academic All-League Team for three-straight seasons
- Shot a career-low three-round score of 221 at the Nebraska Chip-N-Club Invitational as a senior
- Placed first in the North Dakota Fall Classic with a three-round score of 228 as a junior
- Won the Gary Crossley Ford Kansas City Shootout with a season-best three-round score of 223 as a junior
- Placed 20th with a three-round score of 249 in the Summit League Championship as sophomore
- Part of Summit League Conference Championship team in 2013
Path to Passion
After her time student-teaching at Fargo South High School, Storandt was offered a temporary, long-term subbing position, taking over where some teachers were overloaded with classes. The next year she was hired as a full-time teacher and coach.
“I actually got the coaching job before the teaching job,” said Storandt about her transition from a student-athlete to teacher-coach. “It was a little nerve-racking to accept when I didn’t know but I had a good student-teaching experience, I was there for that whole next semester, and felt fairly good that I would get the math job. They asked me about my five-year plan and I said, ‘This is it.’”
However clear the path may seem now that she’s realized her professional goals, the journey to a collegiate golf career at NDSU and now a teaching career wasn’t a straight shot onto the green. Her relationship with golf began in Moorhead where she was born and raised and would go on to be influenced by family, friends and even injury.
“We used to live on the Moorhead Country Club, so I did junior lessons out there, but at that time I was more excited about going to the golf course to drive the golf carts,” said Storandt. “My dad said I would roll down the hills and not want to play. Then in sixth or seventh grade, I started playing a little more. My brother played and a couple of my good friends played, so mom would just drop us off in the summer and we’d spend all day at the golf course.”
Injury to Excellence
Attending Shanley High School, Storandt spread her athletic energies between basketball, soccer and golf. It wasn’t until an injury in soccer that a clear favorite developed out of the three sports.
“I feel like in high school it was a tie between basketball and golf, but then I tore my ACL so I couldn’t play basketball that whole next summer, but I could play golf,” said Storandt. “I played golf way more that summer than I ever had before, and I just fell in love with golf and that became my favorite.”
(Photo Courtesy of NDSU Athletics)
Before graduating from high school in 2011, Storandt accumulated four all-conference titles and three all-state performer titles in golf. She was also part of five-straight Eastern Dakota Conference championship teams and three state title teams in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Winning five individual and four runner-up titles in her senior year alone, it was no wonder NDSU had their eye on the local golfer.
“Sarah was a very good local recruit for us,” said the head coach for women’s golf at NDSU, Matt Johnson. “I knew during the recruiting process that she had a lot of talent for the game, and while she was already a top high school player, she had a lot of areas for growth and I was excited about her strong potential.”
While the choice was clear almost from the start for Coach Johnson, that didn’t stop nerves from getting the best of Storandt, at least at the start, explaining, “When coach came to watch me for the first time, we were in Morton, Minnesota. The first drive he saw me I topped my drive because I saw him and got nervous, of course. But, he’s an easy guy to talk to and very comfortable to be around, so the nerves went away fairly quickly after that.”
On Par for Progress
After taking her spot alongside a tight-knit group team of Bison golfers, Storandt played as a regular in the lineup right from the start. From an 83.8 average over 25 rounds as a freshman, she would go on to score a college-low 76.84 over 31 rounds her junior year. She was even a part of the first and only Bison golf team to win a Summit League Conference Championship, during her sophomore year, in 2013.
“Her first couple of years, she had a lot of ups and downs, but always made steady improvement,” said Coach Johnson. “She was in the lineup for our Summit League championship team, when Amy Anderson was our leader, but a year when we also relied on a lot of young talent. Sarah was a big contributor to that title.”
While her parents and brother both went into the medical field, mathematics was more up Storandt’s alley. Going to college as a math major, Storandt realized she could combine her two passions into one comprehensive career as a teacher-coach and decided to pursue math education.
“I got into coaching while in college, and decided I really liked working with kids, so that led me into the math ed. part of it,” said Storandt. “It’s just building those connections with kids. I developed a love for that in coaching, and I really like doing that in the classroom too. There’s a lot of kids who don’t like math, but if I can build some sort of connection with them, generally they are more willing to give it a try.”
The Next Round
Now as the head coach of girl’s golf, she is developing relationships with students and helping them hone their skills, taking notes from the leadership of Coach Johnson.
“She was always a great ball striker, but when she started to fine-tune those skills, she became one of the top talents in the Summit League,” said Coach Johnson. “She won numerous tournaments in her career, which is very difficult to do. Sarah is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication can do. She came so far in her career and I’m excited to see her getting the opportunity to coach. Her experiences and knowledge make her the perfect person to build a program and she will accomplish many great things with her players.”
As with the pursuit of any skill set, it’s just the beginning of Storandt’s tee off to teaching. While she’s undoubtedly at par for the course when it comes to developing her professional career, that doesn’t mean the end of the round. As she checks off the goals of yesterday, Stroandt faces new goals today, like pursuing a grad school degree in educational leadership.
“I have a semester left of grad school, so I’m working on finishing that up,” said Storandt. “Educational leadership would allow me to be in administration someday or an athletic director. I could see myself being an athletic director in the distant future. I’m just kind of keeping my options open, but I love what I’m doing now.”
Storandt also faces new challenges in her personal life, such as raising a one-year-old Golden Retriever named Phoebe and becoming a homeowner. Just like her past achievements, the new hurdles of removing pesky wallpaper, replacing floors and countertops, and renovating her home are faced alongside friends and family.
“It’s more rewarding to do it yourself. My family’s great. We’re not super handy so it is a little bit of a struggle,” joked Storandt. “But, we’re working through it.”