OGDEN, Utah – With only 11 days separating the Northern Arizona University golf team from the beginning of its 2017 season, the Big Sky Conference released the preseason rankings Thursday morning.
The Lumberjacks, coming off a conference championship in 2015 and a top-three finish last year, were polled at seventh in the Big Sky with 61 total points. Sacramento State, the 2016 conference runner-up, placed first overall on the women's side with 119 points and nine of the 12 first-place tallies. Last season's conference champ Idaho came in at second with 111 points and the remaining three first-place votes.
While the preseason ranking does not paint a flattering picture of the NAU squad, they have no problem playing with a chip on their shoulder and proving some people wrong in 2017. After all, the Lumberjacks return four of the five golfers that competed at conference championships in 2016—two of whom have more than one year of experience at the Big Sky tournament. Additionally, Sofia Anokhina, Kim Cifuentes and Kaitlyn Saum nabbed All-Conference accolades last year and all three return to the roster for the 2017 golf campaign.
Head Coach Brad Bedortha enters his ninth full season at the helm of the Lumberjack golf program with Graduate Assistant Coach Langley Vannoy beginning her second spring season at NAU.
NAU's spring season officially begins on Monday, Feb. 13, with the Battle at the Rock tournament at the Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, Calif.