FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona University's women's golf team are gearing up for the Big Sky Championships. The tournament will be held in Chandler, Ariz., the three-day tournament is scheduled to begin on April 20 at the Ocotillo Golf Resort. NAU will be looking to bring home its second consecutive Big Sky title for the first time in program history.
"I'm very excited," said head coach Brad Bedortha. "We definitely have a lineup that can win this thing again. It's a wide open race right now and there are a number of teams that all have a chance to win it."
The Lumberjacks are the reigning Big Sky Champions as the team won last year's championship in a closely contested tournament. NAU edged out Portland State by just four shots to bring home the title. Returning from last season's championship lineup is Kaitlen Parsons and Susana Mejia.
Parsons was NAU's top performer at the championship tournament last season as her rounds of 73, 71 and 71 catapulted her to a second place finish. The senior will be looking to end her Big Sky career in similar fashion as the playing field is wide open in the conference. Parsons has been the rock for Bedortha's group this year; the impact of her leadership is not seen on any scorecard but her presence and performance keeps NAU in contention.
"Kaitlen is a phenomenal player," Bedortha said. "She has been hitting the ball wonderfully and her game has really matured over the past four years. She has played well at Ocotillo in the past so I am definitely excited to see her compete there again."
Mejia returns to the championship lineup for NAU this season. The junior helped the team to a Big Sky title last season, posting three rounds of 79. The Colombia-native has shown steady improvement throughout the season with her best tournament coming at the Mountain View Collegiate where she posted a season-best 74 in the second round.
LeMarr has been great since joining the team to start the spring season. The sophomore's best performance came at the Red Rocks invitational where she shot a two-round total of 141 on the way to a first place finish.
McKee's play has been up and down all season, but the junior has proven that she can be a major contributor when on her game. Her best performance came at the Grand Canyon Invitational where she led NAU to a share of the team title after shooting rounds of 73, 75 and 76.
"This will be their first go around in the championships so for them it will be about feeling comfortable," said Bedortha. "My hope with them was that they would add some depth to our team and they have definitely done that. I expect both of them to go in and have solid tournaments."
Rounding out the group for the Lumberjacks will be JoJo Sottile.
Sottile is a freshman from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and has proven she is ready to compete against the best the Big Sky has to offer. After enduring some growing pains to start the season, the freshman has begun to come into her own down the final stretch of the regular season.
Live Stats will be available for the event.