KANSAS CITY, Mo. — British Columbia enters the 2013 season as the top ranked team in the NAIA Women’s Golf Coaches’ Preseason Poll, the national office announced over the weekend. The Thunderbirds received 10 of the 16 first-place votes for 430 points for the top spot. Lee is ranked eighth.
British Columbia won the 2012 NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships, defeating SCAD Savannah (Ga.) by two strokes to capture its second title since 2010. The Thunderbirds return two First-Team All-Americans from last year in Kylie Barros and Stephanie Wong, who were both top 10 finishers at last year’s national championships.
SCAD Savannah comes in at No. 2 after notching five first-place votes and 422 points. Collecting the last first-place vote and earning 413 points was No. 3 Lubbock Christian (Texas). Oklahoma City comes in at No. 4 with 382 points, while No. 5 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) rounds out the top five, collecting 376 points.
No. 14 Victoria (B.C.) returns NAIA Individual Champion and First-Team All-American Megan Woodland. Woodland shot even par (292) over the four rounds to win the individual championship by one stroke.
“I think starting the spring out ranked No. 8 is a great position for the Lady Flames, because I think our best golf is ahead of us this season,” said coach John Maupin. “I believe we have a chance to improve as we head into the spring and work our way up into the top 5.”
The Lady Flames closed out the fall season on a great note by winning their last two tournaments. “This team has a lot of winning experience, and it’s important that we use that to our advantage,” Maupin said. “The team’s focus over the last month of the season is what really stuck out to me. We need to carry that over to the offseason, and show up prepared for what lies ahead.”
Eight teams which were not in the postseason poll last year join the Coaches’ Preseason Poll: No. 10 Cumberland (Tenn.), No. 15 Northwood (Texas), No. 18 Bellevue (Neb.), No. 20 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), No. 22 Coastal Georgia, No. 23 Texas at Brownsville, No. 24 William Penn (Iowa) and No. 25 Spring Hill (Ala.). Bellevue and Coastal Georgia made their first ever appearance in the Top 25.
On the other end of the spectrum, Westminster (Utah) (No. 18), College of Idaho (No. 22), Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) (No. 23) and Grand View (Iowa) (No. 24) all fell out of the poll.
Flames 7th in
Texas Wesleyan begins the 2012-13 season at No. 1 in the NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced over the weekend. The Rams, who placed sixth at last year’s NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., collected 13 of 18 first-place votes and earned 494 points en route to their first-ever top billing. The Lee Flames are seventh in the poll.
Texas Wesleyan returns three NAIA All-America selections from last year, including NAIA national championship individual runner-up Nathan Anderson. Anderson, who received first team honors, finished one stroke behind individual medalist Carson Kallis of Victoria (B.C.) with a 72-hole score of 284. Teammates Dillon Watkins and Jose Rolz were the Rams’ other two All-Americans, both earning third team distinction.
Defending national champion Oklahoma City dropped one spot from last season’s postseason poll to No. 2. The Stars garnered four first-place nods and pulled in 479 points. No. 3 Cal State San Marcos vaulted 13 places from its 2012 postseason ranking of No. 16 with 458 points. The Cougars notched two team titles this fall at the California State Intercollegiate Tournament from Sept. 23-25 and the CSUSM Fall Invite Oct. 14-16. No. 4 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 5 Bellevue (Neb.) were awarded 444 and 438 points to round out the top five. Bellevue also received the remaining first-place vote.
“It is always good to be recognized as one of the top teams in the country heading into the spring season, but we also know there is a long way to go,” noted coach John Maupin. “We had a chance to win three times this fall, and I think that experience of being in the hunt will help us moving forward.”
Maupin points out his golfers have high expectations. “I believe they can go as far as they want to go. We have a great mix of young players and experienced players, and it’s been fun to watch them push each other this fall. If we work hard this offseason I think it could be a special spring.”
In total, 12 teams join the poll that were not ranked at the end of last season. Fifth-ranked Bellevue is the highest ranked of those squads, while No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 8 The Master’s (Calif.) and No. 10 Northwood (Texas) are also rated amongst the top 10. Of the newcomers, Bellevue, No. 11 Coastal Georgia, No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa) and No. 19 Ashford (Iowa) are making their first appearance in the Top 25, dating back to 2000.