Nov. 11, 2002
by Erika Sauerwein, Kansas State Sports Information student assistant
When golfer Elise Carpentier traveled more than 1,600 miles from the Providence of Quebec, Canada, to Manhattan, Kan., her freshman year, she knew things would be different.
A different country, a different language and a different home.
But the biggest challenge Carpentier faced was dealing with size of her dorm room.
"It was ridiculous," she said with a laugh. "The room was smaller than my room back home and there were two people living in it. It was so little. That was a challenge for me."
Carpentier, along with teammate Christine Boucher, give Kansas State women's golf team a little diversity. Carpentier and Boucher, both natives of Quebec, bring not only talent to the team, but also laughs and an insight to another culture.
"It is interesting," head coach Kristi Knight said. "It is fun to watch them interact. They add a little variety to the team."
Carpentier and Boucher add more than variety to the team; they add success. This fall, Boucher led the team with a 74.75 stroke average and had three top-10 finishes in the season alone. The junior is also coming off a second-place finish at the Marilyn Sunflower Invitational Oct. 14-15. She fired a combined score of 222 (74-73-75).
"Christine is such a competitor," Knight said. "She brings a great deal of energy and competitive spirit to the team."
Carpentier made an impact in the golf program from the start. She has competed in every tournament since arriving at K-State. In her sophomore year, she became the second Wildcat ever to win an individual title when she captured first place at Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz., in 2001. The other Wildcat individual title belongs to Boucher.
"Elise is obviously a great player," teammate Miranda Smith said. "She goes out there and is focused and does her thing."
Since both Carpentier and Boucher's native language is French, they initially faced a challenge with the language barrier, but now they just have fun with it.
"We joke around with it," said Boucher. "We will say someone's name on the team and be talking in French. It will get their attention."
Smith said the rest of the team also had fun with it.
"We had a lot of fun with Elise when she first got here," Smith said. "We used a lot of slang that she had no idea about. We got her saying different things and she had no idea what she was really saying."
Carpentier and Boucher were both required to take English classes, but language classes didn't prepare them for everything.
"I had language classes at St. Lawrence College for two years and they helped me," Carpentier said. "But conversations were a challenge. I didn't know any slang. Interacting with people is totally different than school stuff. I also had to get used to the accent. I still learn slang words every day."
Leaving Canada was something both women wanted to do. Golf season in Quebec is limited to just three or four months. Going to school and playing golf in the United States was a dream for both.
"Golf is not as big in Canada," Carpentier said. "And I really wanted to study and play golf at the same time. Playing in the U.S. was one of my goals. For women, the level of play is much better in the U.S. than in Canada. There is a great field here."
Leaving home wasn't much of an issue for either of the women.
Boucher was used to the distance. She left home at age 12 to attend Academy Les Estacades, a sport specific academy. Students would have classes in the mornings and then would practice in the afternoons.
But Boucher said having Carpentier already at K-State when she arrived was helpful.
"In those first few weeks, she really helped me. It was nice having someone around to talk French with," Boucher said. "It is going to be weird when she is not here next year."
It did, however, take the women a while to get used to Kansas.
"It is just different," Carpentier said. "Not big things, but there are just a lot of some things here and there that you see are different."
Mexican food was just one introduction the women found interesting. Boucher said she never had Mexican food before coming to the United States. Now Carpentier said she can't live without it.
"I love Taco Bell," she said. "I could eat there every day."
Boucher said she also had to get used to country music.
"That was a big change for me," she said. "I wouldn't say that I am a fan of the music, but it is okay now."
Smith said the team has assisted Carpentier and Boucher in adjusting to a new culture.
"I think we have pretty much Americanized them," she said.
The small dorm rooms, the different food and being far from home hasn't slowed the Canadians down. The Wildcats have wrapped up a successful fall season and are preparing for the spring.
"I couldn't ask for anything more," Boucher said. "The school, my coach and the team, there is support everywhere."