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Freshman Golfer Parsons Makes Quick Impact; Earns Big Sky Honor

Kaitlen Parsons (left) joins newcomers Catherine Benscoter, Jessie Joachim and Jacquee Benscoter on the NAU roster for 2010-11. Photo by Matt Beaty.

OGDEN, Utah - Northern Arizona's Kaitlen Parsons has been selected as the Black Clover Big Sky Conference golfer of the week after tying for second and leading the Lumberjacks to the team title at the Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational.

"It feels really good," said Parsons of her collegiate debut after the tournament. "I did not know what to expect coming here."

Parsons, a true freshman from Greenacres, Wash., opened her collegiate career on Monday with a one-under-par 71.

"Coming out and shooting 71 in the first round was actually pretty cool," said Parsons. "I made the goal of shooting under par in one of my college tournaments. I did it the very first time out."

She followed with rounds of 75 and 73 to finish with a 54-hole total of 219, three-over-par. Parsons was one shot behind medalist Lauren Hernandez of Nevada.

"Kaitlen really stepped up for us," said NAU coach Brad Bedortha. "I could not be happier for her."

Northern Arizona shot rounds of 302-299-304 for a 905 to defend their team title. The Lumberjacks won a tiebreaker against Brigham Young, which also finished at 905. The 54-hole tournament was played on Monday and Tuesday at the Circling Raven Resort in Worley, Idaho.

"We all pitched in and had positive attitudes," said Parsons. "Everybody's score counted in our win. Our goal was come and win and we did. We plan on winning some more during the season."

Northern Arizona led a contingent of six Big Sky teams at the Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational. Portland State was eighth in the 20-team tournament with a 921. Montana was 10th with a 927. Montana State was 14th with a 934. Eastern Washington carded a 952 for 16th place. Weber State was 20th with a 968.

"I really have things to improve on but coming into my first tournament and finishing second is pretty good," said Parsons.

NAU will look to defend its 2009 team title at the Hilton Garden Inn Mountain Shootout next week in its only home tournament of the fall at Forest Highlands Sept. 19-20.