The Gustavus Adolphus women’s golf team is poised to compete at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships being held Tuesday, May 8 through Friday, May 11 at the Zollner Golf Course in Angola, Ind. After finishing in second place at the 2011 MIAC Championships in early October, the Gusties earned an at-large bid into this year’s NCAA Tournament after turning in a strong spring season.
According to the most recent National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Poll, the Gustavus women’s golf team ranks 10th in NCAA Division III. Methodist is the top-ranked team in the country, while Washington (St. Louis) and DePauw round out the top-three ranked teams in second and third, respectively.
The Gusties are making their seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships, a run that began with a second place mark in 2006. Under the direction of Head Coach Scott Moe, who is in his eighth season at the head of the Gustavus women’s golf program, Gustavus has qualified for NCAA Tournament play nine times. The Gusties have earned a spot on the podium five years, finishing runner-up in 2006, 2010, and 2011.
The Gusties will relay its senior veterans Taylor Drenttel (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) and Ann Jackson (Fargo, N.D.) to provide leadership through experience. Drenttel comes in as Gustavus’ top competitor with a team-leading 80.3 (+8) strokes per round average. The senior has two tournament victories this season, winning the Division 3 Classic on Sept. 11-12 and the Wartburg Spring Invite on April 21-22. Ann Jackson averages 81.2 (+9) strokes per round and has recorded five top-five finishes.
Rookie Sam Falk (Glenwood, Minn.) will look to build on an already impressive first-year resume at her first NCAA Championships. Falk, the bronze medalist at the 2011 MIAC Championships, carries an average of 80.5 (+8). Falk also broke the school record for the lowest 18-hole round earlier this spring at the Augustana Invite after firing a 70 (-2) on the opening day.
Rounding out Gustavus’ top competitors are Kayleigh Dittes (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.), Liz Strom (Fy., Fargo, N.D.), and Rikka Holiday (Sr., Bozeman, Mont.). Dittes has an average of 81.6, while Stom and Holiday average 83.1 and 83.5 strokes per round, respectively.
The Gusties will look to get back on the podium after placing second in last season’s NCAA Championships. After severe weather forced the tournament to be called after three rounds, Gustavus found itself behind Methodist with a three-day total 978 (+102). Kate Schenfeld `11 finished in a tie for third place, and Rikka Holiday earned Honorable Mention NCGA All-America honors with a sixth place finish.
The NCAA Championships consist of both team and individual competition conducted concurrently. The tournament will be contested across 72 holes of play during four days of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores from each team for each day will count in the team’s total score.
Participating teams in this year’s field include Allegheny, Baldwin-Wallace, Carroll (Wis.), Centre, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, DePauw, Franklin, George Fox, Illinois Wesleyan, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Methodist, St. Olaf, St. Mary’s (Ind.), Washington-St. Louis, Whitman, UW-Eau Claire, Williams, and Wartburg.
Trine University will serve as this year’s host of the NCAA Championships. For more information on this year’s tournament, please go to the tournament website set up by Trine University at http://www.trine.edu/athletics/womens_sports/golf/National_championship/
To follow live scoring of this season’s NCAA Championships, please go to http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/static/participants_3408.html