ORU Selected to Capture Women's Golf Championship

ORU Selected to Capture Women's Golf Championship

ELMHURST, Ill. -The Oral Roberts women's golf team was selected to capture its 11th straight Summit League Championship in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches who cannot vote for their own squad.

The Golden Eagles, the only team to ever win the league title, were the unanimous choice, garnering nine first-place votes and 81 points. Oakland secured the final first-place vote and placed second with 66 points, while IUPUI and South Dakota State tied for third place with 57 points. Close behind was Centenary in fifth place with 55 points and IPFW and North Dakota State each collected 37 points to tie for sixth place. The poll was rounded out by Western Illinois (28 points), UMKC (21 points) and Southern Utah (11 points).

Last season's Player of the Year, Pamela Ontiveros, returns to the course for Oral Roberts after capturing first place at the league championship last season. Ontiveros shot a league-best 75.3 during the fall season and hopes to improve on that this spring. Christy Carter (76.9) also had a stroke average under 80 for ORU in the fall and returns for Coach of the Year Lance Watson. The Golden Eagles will also rely on Newcomer of the Year Megan O'Connell (80.5) and Ashley Mushenkashey (81.6) in order to secure their 11th title.

Oakland, the runner-up each of the last four years, returns a core group of golfers in hopes of dethroning Oral Roberts. Austin McDermaid led the Golden Grizzlies during the fall season with a 78.3 stroke average for first-year head coach Brian Costello. Second-team all-league selections from last season Nichole Swan (78.9) and Jenna Goulet (81.5) also return for OU after a solid fall season.

The Jaguars are led by all-league first team member Kellie Marshall, who collected a 78.3 stroke average, including shooting the lowest score for IUPUI in three tournaments in the fall. Tara Boone (79.3) was the only other player to average under 80 in the fall, while Kelli Holloway (81.9) provides depth to the team.

Hillary Gerster was the Jackrabbits' top finisher in all five fall tournaments, tallying a 77.9 stroke average along the way for head coach Jared Baszler. South Dakota State also welcomes Whitney Schrader (81.3) and Holly Opatz (81.5) to the squad after compiling strong fall campaigns.

Centenary was selected in the fifth slot and is led by second-team all-league members Jessica Garza and Chloe Mims. Both Garza (78.3) and Mims (79.8) each shot a team-low score in two tournaments during the fall season. Leigh Newton (83.3) and Tracy Williams (83.3) hope to lead the Ladies to their first league title.

The Mastodons look to claim The Summit League Championship behind the swing of Alison Rathsman. Rathsman was the top IPFW finisher in three tournaments during the fall season with a 79.2 average. Jillian Speece (79.8) and Abbey Waltke (82.9) help round out the IPFW squad.

North Dakota State was led during the fall campaign by Jenna Buckwalter, who posted a 77.8 stroke average en route to being the top Bison finisher in four tournaments. NDSU will also count on Chelsey Wongjirad (79.9) to help it contend for the league title.

The Westerwinds are led by the swings of Becky Allen (81.2) and Jennifer Holt (83.4). Allen, a second-team all-league selection, and Holt were Western's top finishers in all but one fall tournament. Claire Gursh (84.6) also provides much needed depth to the WIU team.

UMKC competed in five fall tournaments with Sally Meiners (85.2) finishing on top in three. The Kangaroos will also rely on Jessica Fleming (84.2) and Whitney Davis (84.9) this spring season.

In its first year of competition, Southern Utah welcomes a young squad to the links. Candra Sumedhatip (85.1) and Mandi Incorvaia (85.6) led the way for the Thunderbirds in the fall season and will be counted on again this spring.

The Summit League Women's Golf Championship will be held at the Harry Mussatto Golf Course on the campus of Western Illinois in Macomb Ill., April 20-22. The team champion will earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Women's Golf Tournament.

The Summit League is comprised of 10 member institutions - Centenary College of Louisiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), North Dakota State University, Oakland University, Oral Roberts University, South Dakota State University, Southern Utah University and Western Illinois University. The league offers championships in 19 sports.

2008 Women's Preseason Golf Poll

Team

Points (1st)

1.

Oral Roberts

81 (9)

2.

Oakland

66 (1)

3.

IUPUI

57

South Dakota State

57

5.

Centenary

55

6.

IPFW

37

North Dakota State

37

8.

Western Illinois

28

9.

UMKC

21

10.

Southern Utah

11



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