Bearcats Seek Continued Success at NWC Championship Tournament

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- With four freshmen hoping to continue a successful season, the Willamette University women's golf team is set for strong competition at the 2012 Northwest Conference Championship Tournament at Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland, Wash., on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday April 22. The Bearcats enter the tournament tied for third place in the NWC standings.

The NWC Championship Tournament counts for one-half of the overall NWC title. In addition, the NWC Fall Classic counts for one-fourth of the title and the NWC Spring Classic counts for one-fourth of the title. Points at each of the NWC Classic events are distributed on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0 basis, while points at the NWC Championship Tournament will be doubled.

Entering this weekend's competition, George Fox University is in first place with 16 points and Whitman College is second with 14 points. Willamette, Linfield College and Whitworth University are all tied for third place with 10 points. Pacific Lutheran University is sixth with 6 points, while Pacific University is seventh with 4 points, University of Puget Sound is eighth with 2 points. Lewis & Clark College has 0 points and has not fielded a complete team.

Freshmen Nicole Smith (Portland, OR/Westview HS) and Mckenzie Weinhold (Placerville, CA/El Dorado HS/U. of Nevada-Reno) have led the way throughout most of the season. Smith placed second last week at the Willamette Invitational and was ninth at the NWC Spring Classic. Weinhold won the Linfield Three-Way during the fall season, was fourth at the NWC Fall Classic, and took first place at the Salem Collegiate Cup.

Mele Ana Kastner (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS) and LettaJoe Gallup (Fr., Alameda, CA/Holy Names HS) have gradually improved for the Bearcats. Gallup earned an 80 in the second round of the NWC Spring Classic.

All four golfers have combined their efforts to form a solid team that hopes to take its next step this weekend.

George Fox is certainly the favorite to take first place at the NWC Championship Tournament after winning the Fall Classic by 13 strokes and taking first place in the Spring Classic by 30 strokes. Whitman finished in second place at both tournaments.

Willamette, Linfield and Whitworth will be out to match Whitman in what should be an exciting battle for second place. PLU, Pacific and Puget Sound will look to improve on their positions from the earlier NWC meets.

TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

2012 Northwest Conference
Championship Tournament
Columbia Point Golf Course
Richland, Wash.
April 21-22

Nicole Smith placed ninth at the NWC Spring Classic, including a 76 in the first round.

Nicole Smith placed ninth at the NWC Spring Classic, including a 76 in the first round.