JOHNSON CITY (May 8, 2013) – Fresh off a victory in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships last month, the ETSU women’s golf team will head to the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala., to participate in the NCAA East Regional beginning Thursday.
The East Regional is one of three regional tournaments being conducted May 9-11 to determine the field for the NCAA Championship finals, which will be played May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
“We are looking forward to playing Auburn’s course, and hope the momentum we have built over our last two events carries over to the regional,” said ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton. “This is a special opportunity and our team wants to take advantage of it.”
ETSU has participated in NCAA Regional play twice before, finishing 15th both times in the 2010 East Regional in Greenville, N.C., and in the 2008 Central Regional in Austin, Texas.
Last season the 2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year Gabriella Wahl (Heidenheim, Germany) also played in the Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio, finishing tied for 34th, and in 2011 Nina Muehl (Vienna, Austria) tied for 71st in the Central Region in South Bend, Ind. In 2010, Muehl advanced to National Championship action, finishing 92nd in the 2010 championship played in Wilmington, N.C.
An Atlantic Sun team has played in the East Regional 18 times, with the best finish coming in 1997 as Campbell finished fifth with a three-round total of 951. The 2010 Bucs recorded the second-lowest three-round total by an A-Sun team in a NCAA Regional, firing 903, just one stroke above the record mark of 902 set by Campbell the same year.
This season's ETSU team has enjoyed another outstanding campaign, winning two tournaments including the A-Sun Championship and finishing no worse than eighth in any event. At the A-Sun Championship, ETSU tied its program's championship high mark with a first place finish as well as establishing new marks for an individual's low 18-hole total (Sian Evans, 67 in first round) and a new team low 18-hole total (287, first round). Wahl and Sian Evans (Gillingham, England) also finished in the championship's Top-10 for the second straight year.
Shelton is the 2013 A-Sun Coach of the Year, her third such honor, and Evans earned membership to the All-Conference First Team for the third straight year. Wahl joined Evans for the second consecutive year as a First-Team All-Conference selection, and freshman Vivienne Chin (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia) was selected as Freshman of the Year. Chloe Garner (Somerset West, South Africa) joined Chin on the All-Conference Second Team, and Wahl also earned membership to the Academic All-Conference Team.
A total of 378 participants have been selected for regional competition. Of these players, 126 will advance to the championships finals. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional.
The 59th-ranked Bucs join 23 other teams in the field at Auburn that includes conference champions No. 2 Alabama (SEC), No. 16 Oklahoma State (Big 12), No. 19 Tulane (C-USA), No. 30 Notre Dame (Big East), No. 23 Northwestern (Big 10), Florida International (Sun Belt), Chattanooga (Southern), James Madison (Colonial Athletic), Eastern Kentucky (OVC) and Alabama State (SWAC).
The field also includes No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 UCLA, No. 15 North Carolina, No. 14 Virginia, No. 17 Texas, No. 31 Tennessee, No 32 Kentucky, No. 38 Texas State, No. 39 Auburn, Central Florida, No. 43 Penn State, East Carolina and No. 49 Ole Miss. Six individuals will also participate in the East Regional: Natalie Willie and Casey Kennedy from Augusta State, Kelly Shon from Princeton, Isabel Southard from Boston College and Shu-Yin Liu and Kristina Merkle from Tulsa.
The field for the NCAA East Regional will include the following teams:
For more on the ETSU women’s golf team throughout the NCAA postseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s golf link.