This WeekArkansas travels West for the 2008 NCAA Regional Championship hosted by Sacramento State. Competition takes place at Lincoln Hills Golf Club May 8-10.
Who’s traveling?The Lady Razorbacks will send senior Stacy Lewis, junior Lucy Nunn, sophomores Kristin Ingram and Alex Schulte and freshman Kelli Shean to this year’s championship.
About the NCAA RegionalThe 2008 selection is the seventh in the 13-year program history and the sixth consecutive. It is the second time the Lady Razorbacks have traveled to the West Regional. They were also in the West in 2006 when they played at Washington National in Auburn, Wash. Arkansas finished eighth and advanced to the NCAA Championship that year.
The FieldThis year’s field includes No. 3 Southern California, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 12 Arizona, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 17 California, No. 21 Michigan State and No. 23 Stanford as the other seeded teams at this regional. The rest of the field includes No. 27 BYU, No. 29 Tulsa, No. 34 North Carolina, No. 36 Ohio State, No. 38 San Jose State, No. 41 Oklahoma, No. 44 Oregon, No. 46 UNLV, No. 53 UC-Davis, No. 60 UC-Irvin, No. 77 Fresno State, No. 97 Oral Roberts and No. 142 Portland State.
What’s at Stake?The top eight from each of the three regional sites advance to the 2008 NCAA Championship in Albuquerque, N.M., May 20-23.
Last year’s NCAA RegionalIt couldn’t have been closer. The University of Arkansas missed the cut at last year’s Central Regional by just five strokes at the Michigan-hosted event in Ann Arbor. Arkansas finished ninth overall with a 906 (291-301-314) battling strong winds and a long rough as Michigan State slipped into the top eight in the final round.
But Lewis Made ItThat’s right. Then junior Stacy Lewis finished tied for third overall shooting a three-under 213 (70-72-71). She was the top finishing player from a non-advancing team and earned a trip to the NCAA Championship. Lewis would go on to win the NCAA Championship as an individual later that same month.
Who is the team to beat?With three polls that is sometimes a tough question to ask. This week, however, the scenario is a bit different. The team to beat is really the eighth-best team as the top eight advance. Here’s a look at where each of the teams in the West Regional stand in the current poll. Remember, the polls all have different issue dates and may change again prior to the start of the regional competition next week.
|San Jose St.||40||38|
|*Automatic conference qualifier|
Arkansas against the fieldArkansas has seen several of the teams at this year’s West Regional. The Lady Razorbacks have wins over Michigan State, Ohio State and Oklahoma twice and have finished better than North Carolina, California, Arizona, Stanford, San Jose State, Oregona nd UNLV this year. Arkansas has lost to Southern California and Arizona State once each this season.
Lewis is on topStacy Lewis is the top-ranked individual at this year’s West Regional. In fact, Lewis is ranked second in the country behind Duke’s Amanda Blumenherst. Lewis’ stroke average of 70.08 is just shy of Bluemenherst’s 69.11 but the Lady Razorback has played one more event. Lewis will have to look over her shoulder however, at Arizona State’s Anna Nordqvist (70.67) and Azahara Munoz (70.68) who rank fourth and fifth, respectively. Southern California’s Belen Mozo (70.93) ranks fifth and this regional will likely have the most hotly contested battle for individual honors.
Arkansas at the NCAA RegionalsArkansas is making its seventh NCAA Regional appearance this year and its sixth consecutive one. Arkansas earned back-to-back NCAA Championship trips in 2005 and 2006 by virtue of eighth-place finishes at both Regional events. The 2005 regional was at Texas A&M and was the Central site while Arkansas went West in 2006 playing Washington National for the first time.
Honors Continue for LewisStacy Lewis’ resume continues to grow. The Woodlands, Texas, native won the 2008 SEC Championship and was named SEC Golfer of the Year – a first for both Lewis and the Lady Razorback program. In addition, Lewis became the program’s first four-time first-team all-SEC selection and was named the SEC Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Shean honored tooFreshman Kelli Shean continues to shine this year and was rewarded with a selection to the SEC all-Freshman team. She is just the second Arkansas freshman honored in her first year of play joining Stacy Lewis who was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2004-05 after winning the SEC Championship at Tunica National.
Lewis holds all the recordsWith the success of Stacy Lewis, it is no surprise that The Woodlands, Texas, native holds nearly all the records at Arkansas. Here’s a look at those numbers: Low Round 66, 2006 Lowest Two Round 144, 2004 Lowest Three Round 207, 2006 Lowest Four Round 282, 2007 Lowest Season Ave. 71.88, 2008* Lowest Career Ave. 73.89* Most Season Rounds 35, 2005 *prior to the SEC ChampionshipThe only Arkansas individual record Lewis does not hold – yet – is the career rounds record. That mark is 133 rounds shared by former Lady’Backs Amanda MCurdy (2002-05) and Courtney Mahon (2002-05). Lewis is currently tied with 133 after the SEC Championship and will overtake sole possession of the record after the NCAA Regional competition.
Brought to you by the No. FourArkansas is in the midst of a good season. The Lady Razorbacks have nine top five finishes in 10 events. Arkansas has finished fourth four times this year.
Career numbers bettered this yearSophomore Kristin Ingram posted a career-best finish tying for 16th at the Wildcat Fall Invitational. She tied her career-best round with a 71 to finish at the UA Ann Rhoads and tied her career low with a 222 at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Junior Lucy Nunn posted a career-best 69 in the first round of the Mercedes Benz as did sophomore Tanica van As with a first round 77 at the Wildcat Fall Invitational.
A Coaching Name ChangeBy now, everyone is aware of the coaching change for this season as former head coach Kelley Hester departed for her alma mater and assistant coach Shauna Estes took over. There is another new twist for Estes — she got married in January. Estes will keep her maiden name and hyphenate it with her married name which is Taylor. She is now Shauna Estes-Taylor.