OGDEN, Utah – The Big Sky Conference released its preseason polls for the upcoming golf season today. Northern Arizona University's women's golf team was picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky.
"The fourth place ranking is actually higher than I thought we would be," said head coach Brad Bedortha. "We struggled mightily in the fall so it's no surprise; we put ourselves in this position."
NAU golf is coming off a spectacular season after winning the Big Sky Conference championship and competing at the NCAA tournament. This year's team will miss the leadership and talent of Stephanie Kim who graduated this past spring. Kim was a major part of that championship team from last year and an all-time great for the NAU golf program.
The Lumberjacks struggled throughout the majority of fall play but started to come alive at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational. The team posted season-best scores throughout the tournament including a 297 on the final day of play. Senior Kaitlen Parsons led the way for NAU with a second place finish on the way to a Big Sky Golfer of the Week honor.
"We played very well in the last two rounds of play in Hawaii and Kaitlen our lone senior played great," said Bedortha. "I am confident she will continue to play well and do a good job leading the team."
NAU will be looking to carry over the momentum from its trip to Hawaii this spring. The team returns sophomore Savana Bezdicek, 2013 Big Sky Freshman of the Year, in addition to three experienced juniors in Laura Jabczenski, Melissa Olson and Susana Mejia.
The Lumberjacks gained three newcomers this season in freshman JoAnn Sottile, sophomore Jacquie LeMarr and junior Brittany McKee. LeMarr and McKee are both transfers from UCLA and Arizona State, respectively.
"Brittany and Jacquie will be important to our success this spring and getting JoJo to play to her potential will help us as well," said Bedortha. "The good thing about golf is preseason rankings don't really matter. I am confident we will play better this spring."
NAU will begin spring play at the Grand Canyon Spring Invitational on February 24th and 25th.