by Will Carsh
The Whitworth men’s and women’s golf teams both competed in the Northwest Conference tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The men ended in second place and the women in fourth at the end of the first day. The second day ended with the men taking second in the tournament, but due to positioning established beforehand, ending with a first-place ranking in the conference. The women finished in third, placing them in third for conference.
Willamette led at the end of the first day on the men’s side with Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran tied for second place. Willamette’s first place golfer for the day was Clark Wilson, with a score of 71. Juniors Samson Martinez and Oliver Rudnicki of Whitworth trailed with a score of 77, tying with two other golfers for fourth place. The overall standings of the match placed them in second for the day- a goal they needed to achieve in order to reach the coveted NWC title. The final tallies for the day saw Willamette at 299, Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth at 315, and George Fox at 317.
“Finishing well at conference and going to Nationals is our goal every year,” head golf coach Warren Friedrichs said of the weekend. “Which, of course, is difficult, as we end up playing until finals week.”
The next day, the men managed to successfully hold their position through the tournament, finishing in second place and claiming the 2014-2015 Conference title. The points from the Spring Classic added to their score posted from the the most recent tournament, elevating them from second place over Willamette, who won the NWC tournament overall. Martinez finished tied for sixth place after shooting a 152 cumulative score. Junior Andrew Dodge finished in eighth place with a 153- hitting a 73 for the second day. Rudnicki ended up finishing 16th with a 158. Whitworth’s totalled 618, trailing Willamette’s 613, but pulling ahead of Linfield’s 621 and George Fox’s 624. Willamette was outshot by the Pirates at the Spring Classic earlier this season, which resulted in the Bucs claiming the conference title.
“Making it to nationals was definitely our motivation,” Martinez. “We want to put Whitworth on the map. I am so excited to represent Whitworth at nationals and hope everyone knows this win was for the Whitworth community.”
On the women’s side of things, the team finished the first day in fourth, shooting a score of 335, with Whitman’s 333, Pacific Lutheran’s 325, and George Fox’s 319 all leading. Paige Henry of Pacific Lutheran led the individual scoring of the day, but Whitworth senior Nicole Lomax managed to tie for second with George Fox’s Loreece Magsanide, both boasting scores of 77. Other notables included sophomore Michal Schuster tying for 12th with a score of 83 as well as junior Yvonne LaCoursiere and freshman Katie Ochoa tying for 25th with scores of 90.
The second day yielded an even greater performance for the Bucs with the women finishing in third place in the tournament and in the conference. George Fox claimed first place with a score of 622, Whitman landed in second with a score of 653, and Whitworth finished with a score of 657.
“I think we were peeved after our performance the first day and we came out with some fire,” junior Chelsea Bayley said.
Lomax finished ninth with a score of 162, with Bayley and Schuster finishing in a four-way tie for tenth with scores of 163.
The men’s team will be moving on to Nationals, which will be held May 12-15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.