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Golf Selected as Preseason Favorites in Big Sky

OGDEN, Utah – The Northern Arizona women's golf team is the coaches' top pick in the 2013 Big Sky Conference preseason poll, the league announced on Tuesday.

"It is nice to be recognized by your peers who think you are good enough to win the conference tournament," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "From a feel-good stand point, it is nice but they don't give you a conference trophy for a preseason poll."

Bedortha's Lumberjacks received eight of the 11 first-place votes and 98 total points. Portland State was in the No. 2 spot, earning two first-place votes and 83 total points, while Sacramento State was third with one first-place vote and 76 total points. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The Lumberjacks finished the fall season ranked 129th in the Golfstat rankings, tops among Big Sky schools. NAU averaged 307.09 strokes per round with a low-round of 299. NAU is led by senior Stephanie Kim, the 2010 Big Sky champion, junior Kaitlen Parsons, who finished seventh at last year's championship, and freshman Savana Bezdicek.

Northern Arizona has won six Big Sky Championships, most recently in 2009.

"We had a pretty good fall season and played well at times," said Bedortha. "It has been motivation to play better this spring. We are trying to not worry about results and are working every day to get better. We are making strides in the right direction."

The Lumberjacks open the spring season with the first of six tournaments starting at The Lumberjack at Ocotillo held at the Ocotillo Golf Resort Feb. 11-13 in Chandler, Ariz. It is the first of three events NAU will play on the course, including the Cowgirl Classic (April 8-10) and the Big Sky Conference Championships (April 21-23). The 2013 Big Sky championship starts on Sunday, April 21 and ends on Tuesday, April 23.

Bezdicek led the team in scoring average over four fall tournaments, posting a 75.4 average slightly ahead of Kim (75.6). Bezdicek closed the fall season by winning the Cal Poly Lady Mustang Invitational, helping the team to a third-place finish.

Preseason Golf Poll (1st-Place Votes)

1. Northern Arizona (8)        
98
2. Portland State (2)  
83
3. Sacramento State (1)        
76
4. Southern Utah       
68
5. Weber State                      
64
6. Montana    
59
7. Northern Colorado
55
8. Montana State       
45
9. Eastern Washington          
26
10. North Dakota      
20
11. Idaho State         
11