May. 1, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The month of May began on a high note for the Washington State women's golf team as the Cougars were selected to participate in the first NCAA Regional in school history.
The Cougars were seeded 13th out of 13 teams in the Far West District and join 11 schools from the West District that will compete in the West Regional May 11-13 at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.
Six individuals from school not in the 24-team field will also compete in the event hosted by Arizona State University.
The field is a strong one that includes seven schools in the top ten (MasterCard Collegiate Rankings, April 26) and 13 in the top 20. All 24 schools are ranked in the top 50, including WSU at number 50, and every Pac-10 school will participate in the regional.
Eleven teams and three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals, May 24-27, hosted by Oregon State at the Crosswater Course, Sunriver Resort, in Sunriver, Oregon.
The Cougars are led by junior Jennifer Dodd (Portland, Ore.), who is coming off a tenth place finish at the Pac-10 Championship last week. Her performance made here the first Cougar woman to place in the top 10 at the conference tournament.
"It (the West Regional) is going to be tougher than Pac-10s," Dodd said. "I've been in the top 25 in every tournament I've played this spring so I know I can make the top 25, but I want to shoot for the top 15. Also, this is the last tournament for Jen (Ballou, WSU's lone senior) and we want to do well for her."
Ballou, also a Portland native, finished tied for 48th at the Pac-10 Championship.
"It came down to us and probably Hawai'i for the final spot," WSU head coach Walt Williams said. "We beat Hawai'i by 22 strokes two weeks ago at Stanford so that helped us."
Although the Cougars were the final team selected from the Far West District, WSU has recorded some success this season against other schools in the field.
"We beat Washington, Oregon, Texas Tech and Oklahoma this year, and they are all ranked (in the top 36)," Williams said. "We are seeded 13th out of the Far West out of 13 teams, so we have to be realistic about our chances. I don't want to be bold in predictions, but if we play well, we can finish ahead of several teams.
"It is very exciting to know we are heading in the right direction. When I came here, I thought it would take three years to get to postseason. To do it a year in advance is rewarding."
Both Williams and Dodd credit the team's success to the camaraderie among the athletes.
"This team gets along and enjoys one another's company better than any team I've ever been associated with," Williams said.
Dodd added, "We always have team and individual goals and we say them everyday before we play and the night before. Last year, I think a lot of us had more of an individual mentality. This year, Jenny (Ballou) and I sat down and talked about we were going to have to pull together as a team to be successful."
Karsten Golf Course
Hosted by Arizona State
1. New Mexico State 2. Oklahoma State 3. New Mexico 4. Texas 5. Tulsa 6. TCU 7. Oklahoma 8. Nebraska 9. Missouri 10. Baylor 11. Texas Tech
Far West District
1. Arizona 2. USC 3. Arizona State 4. Stanford 5. Pepperdine 6. San Jose State 7. UCLA 8. California 9. Oregon 10. Washington 11. Oregon State 12. BYU 13. Washington State
1. Kristen McLaren, UTEP 2. Jordan Lintz, Wyoming
Far West District
1. Angie Yoon, Nevada 2. Acey Erlandson, Boise State 3. Emily Arnaud, San Francisco 4. Heather Rollo, San Diego State