George Fox women’s golf selected as conference favorites in NWC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

George Fox women’s golf selected as conference favorites in NWC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 

Rk.

Team

Pts.

2017-18 NWC Finish 2018 NCAA Finish

1

George Fox

62 (6)

T-1st

3rd

2

Whitman

59 (3)

T-1st

7th

3

Whitworth

50

3rd

--- 

4

Lewis & Clark

38

4th

--- 

5

Pacific Lutheran

35

5th

--- 

T-6

Pacific (Ore.)

25

7th

--- 

T-6

Puget Sound

25

6th

--- 

8

Linfield

18

8th

--- 

9

Willamette

12

9th

--- 

(Points awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams; numbers in parentheses indicate first place votes.)

HILLSBORO, Ore. - George Fox was selected as the top women's golf team in the Northwest Conference for the 2018-19 season with 62 points and six first-place votes, as voted on by conference coaches.

The Bruins had a triumphant 2017-18 season, having taken home first place in both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics, and finishing third in the nation at the NCAA Championship. At the NWC Fall Classic, the Bruins finished with a 615 overall and five top-10 individual finishes. The team improved their overall score at the NWC Spring Classic, finishing with a 604 and five top-10 individual finishes yet again. The team earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Championship after falling to Whitman by six in the NWC Championship at Oakbrook Golf Club in Lakewood, Wash. In final conference standings, the Bruins finished tied in first with Whitman.

At El Campeon Golf Course in Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla., the Bruins finished with a 1272 to secure their third consecutive top-three finish at the NCAA Championship, finishing behind second-place Williams and first-place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Kristin Elich (West Linn, Ore.), Iris Kawada (Kaneohe, Hawaii), and Kayle Hunn (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) earned WGCA All-West Region honors. Elich was named to the WGCA All-America Second Team, and Kawada earned All-America Honorable Mention recognition after having finished tied for 10th individually at the NCAA Championship. In addition, all three Bruins earned All-NWC First Team accolades alongside teammate Janelle Decker (Tualatin, Ore.), with Elich named as NWC Player of the Year. Teammate Rachel Drgastin (Bend, Ore.) was named to the All-NWC Second Team. The Bruins enter the fall 2018 season ranked third in the Womens Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) national preseason poll, with Hunn, Kawada, Drgastin, and Decker all returning to lead the Bruins on their quest for a national title in 2019.

The Whitman Blues were voted second in the conference with 59 points and three first-place votes. After having finished in second-place at both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics with a 622 and 626, respectively, the Blues came out victorious at the NWC Championship, defeating the Bruins with a 615 to earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. The NWC co-champions had an exceptional showing at the NCAA Championship, finishing seventh in the nation with a team score of 1298. Shiyang Fan (San Diego, Calif.) finished tied for 10th individually with George Fox's Iris Kawada and Williams' Holly Davenport. Fan and teammate Phoebe Nguyen (Beaverton, Ore.) were both named NCAA First Team All-American selections for their outstanding performances. Fan and Nguyen were also named All-NCW First Team selections, while teammates Hannah Roh (Edmonds, Wash.), Casey Godwin (Denver, Colo.), and Emma Beyer (McMinnville, Ore.) were named to the All-NWC Second Team. Beyer was also named NWC Freshman of the Year, and head coach Skip Molitor was named NWC Coach of the Year. The Blues rank fifth in the WGCA national preseason poll, with Fan, Beyer, Godwin, and Roh all returning to lead the Blues to another successful post-season run in 2019.

Whitworth earned 50 points to claim third place in the poll. The Pirates claimed third-place in all three NWC tournaments throughout the 2018-19 season to earn third in final conference standings. Madison Pillo (Enumclaw, Wash.) led the Pirates at the NWC Fall Classic after tying for 8th place with George Fox's Rachel Drgastin. At the NWC Spring Classic, Maggie Peters (West Linn, Ore.) and Jayme Pentony (Union, Wash.) both placed within the top-10 to lead the Pirates to a third-place finish yet again. Peters and Pentony both earned All-NWC Second Team honors and will return as juniors to guide the Pirates towards another successful NWC showing in the 2018-19 season.

Lewis & Clark takes fourth in the poll with 38 points. The Pioneers finished ranked fourth in 2018 final conference standings after taking home fourth place in all three NWC tournaments. Annie McCutchan (San Diego, Calif.) tied for 10th place at the NWC Fall Classic, while Mady Rhodenbaugh (Dallas, Tex.) placed within the top-8 at both the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship. Rhodenbaugh was named to the All-NWC Second Team and will return for the 2018-19 season alongside McCutchan to lead the Pioneers.

Pacific Lutheran ranked fifth in the poll three points behind the Pioneers with 35. The Lutes finished fifth in all three NWC tournaments, finishing fifth in final conference standings. The Lutes will return top performers Sami Briney (Clarkston, Wash.) and Nicole Matiatos (Auburn, Wash.) in the 2018-19 season.

Puget Sound and Pacific (Ore.) tie for sixth in the poll, each receiving 25 points. Both teams tied for sixth at the 2017 NWC Fall Classic, but the Loggers ultimately edged the Boxers at the NWC Championship to claim sixth-place in final conference standings.  The Loggers bounced back to a sixth-place finish after taking eighth place at the NWC Spring Classic. Team leader Kristi Koyanagi (Honolulu, Hawaii) returns a senior for the 2018-19 season to head the Loggers.

Pacific (Ore.) finished seventh in final conference standings in 2018. After tying with Puget Sound for sixth at the NWC Fall Classic, the team took home sixth and seventh at the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship, respectively. The Boxers return a team of veterans, including Briana Finau (Kaneohe, Hawaii), who was Pacific's top finisher in all 10 tournaments last year including five top-five finishes.

Linfield places eighth in the poll with 18 points. The team finished the 2017-18 season in ninth place in final conference standings, with Madeline Rice (Bend, Ore.) and Tiana Yamaoka (Santa Clarita, Calif.) leading the Wildcats. The young team returns under new leadership in the 2018-19 season with first-year head coach Shane Kimura.

The Willamette Bearcats took ninth place in the poll with 12 points. The team placed eighth in the final NWC standings last season after having placed ninth at the NWC Fall and Spring Classics, and seventh at the NWC Tournament. Having graduated team leader Maddi Barnett (Boise, Idaho), the Bearcats return for the 2018-19 season with a young team under Patrick Daugherty in his sixth year as the head coach at Willamette.

Eight of nine conference teams will begin their Fall 2018 season this weekend. George Fox will compete in the California Lutheran Invite at Olivas Links Golf Course in Ventura, Calif., while Pacific Lutheran will host Lewis & Clark, Linfield, Pacific (Ore.), Puget Sound, Whitworth, and Willamette at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational at Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Tacoma, Wash.