GNAC Women's Golf Preview: WWU hopes to continue winning ways

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Anna Bourland
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Anna Bourland
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Aug 29, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - The top three career average scoring leaders in the brief history of Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's golf belong to Western Washington, and none will be returning for the Vikings in 2013-14.

That leaves the task of defending WWU's three consecutive GNAC titles in the hands of Anna Bourland (80.8 average in 18 rounds in 2012-13) and Kristen Hansen (80.8/18).

The two are returning first team all-GNAC honorees who will step into the void left by two-time GNAC Player of the Year Claire Rachor and two-time GNAC first-teamer Kara Zitzman.

In 2013, WWU notched a score of 625 in the GNAC championships to run away with the title, as the team averaged 322.1 strokes over 18 rounds on the season.

Katya Case (84.5/12), the lone senior on the squad, and Emily Koryto (87.6/8) also return, each with a season of experience for the Vikings.

Bo Stephan enters his seventh year at the helm of a program that he led to back-to-back fifth place finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2006 and 2007.

Saint Martin's placed second in the GNAC championships a year ago, finishing with a final score of 671.

Finishing in fifth place in that tournament was Mandy Wittmier (82.9/19), whose performance earned her first-team all-GNAC honors.

Finishing two strokes behind Wittmier at last season's GNAC championships and also returning for the Saints is Sarah Salvatori (82.7/18). As a freshman she notched three top-10 finishes and posted a team-best low round mark of 75 en route to earning second-team all-GNAC recognition.

Bob Grisham, who doubles as the athletic director at SMU, is back at the helm for the Saints in 2013-14.

Montana State Billings' scoring average of 332.1 over 14 rounds was good enough for second in the GNAC, and the Yellowjackets were edged by just two strokes while finishing third at the GNAC championships in 2013.

Melissa Saken (84.4/14), who currently ranks fourth all-time in career scoring average (82.85) and finished third in the GNAC championship tournament in 2013 with a score of 158, returns for her senior season in 2013-14.

BreAnna Cameron (86.2/14), also a top-10 finisher at last year's GNAC championships is another returner for MSU Billings who brings senior leadership to the squad.

The Fish twins - Cayley and Katie - enjoyed stand out seasons as sophomores in 2012-13 and look to propel MSU Billings up the standings this season.

Cayley Fish (84.3/16) notched a low round of 78 and a top-five finish en route to earning second-team all-GNAC honors for the second consecutive season.

Katie Fish (83.7/16) tied Saken for the team-high with two top-five finishes and was also nominated to the GNAC second team.

In fourth place at last year's GNAC championships was Simon Fraser, which posted a score of 729. Nicky Jordan (83.3/12) finished 11th in the tournament with a score of 173, and was the Clan's top individual on the season with a low round score of 76.

Also returning for Simon Fraser are junior Rochelle Rozensoff (95.3/10) as well as sophomores Kirstin Jorgensen (91.8/10) and Jennifer McTeer (97.7/10).

In its first season with a women's program, Northwest Nazarene had a decent showing at the GNAC championships in 2013.

Craig Stensgaard, who also leads the Crusaders' men's golf program, is equipped with a young roster of seven freshmen and sophomores for the 2013-14 season.

As a freshman in 2013, Haley Gochnour (90.7/18) was Northwest Nazarene's top finisher at the GNAC championships with a score of 184.

Fellow freshman Carleigh Sturm (97.8/17) tied her teammate for 14th with the same score in NNU's inaugural women's golf season.

SCHEDULE: NNU gets the 2013-14 season started with a dual match against the College of Idaho on Sept. 11 in Nampa. MSU Billings hosts the annual Yellowjacket Fall Invitational on Sept. 12-13, WWU heads to Phoenix, Ariz. on Sept. 23-24 for its first tournament, and SFU and SMU get underway at the Saint Martin's invite on Oct. 4-5.