Photo Courtesy: Arkansas Tech Athletics
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (GAC) - With the start of the spring portion of the women's golf season set to begin on Saturday with the Southern Arkansas/Arkansas-Monticello Challenge Cup, the Great American Conference's head coaches installed Arkansas Tech as the preseason favorite, the conference office announced on Wednesday.
The Golden Suns scored five top-three finishes during the fall portion of the season. Rebecka Surtevall claimed medalist honors at the Drury Fall Shootout and the Dallas Baptist University Classic and finished no worse than sixth across the five events. The two-time GAC Player of the Year closed the 2013 spring season by winning at the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 Championships and placing 12th at the NCAA Championships.
Southwestern Oklahoma State finished second in the poll, followed closely by Henderson State and Harding. All three, in addition to Arkansas Tech, advanced to the Super Region 3 Championships. During the fall season, the Lady Bulldogs turned in four top-four finishes, a including a win the GAC Women's Preview - an event that featured seven of the league's 10 schools. Ashlynn Hall, who advanced to the NCAA Championships as in individual last May, recorded three top-seven finishes during the fall and Ana Gomez tied for medalist honors as the Northeastern State Classic.
The Reddies, under first-year head coach Forrest Schultz, claimed a team victory at the HSU Lady Reddie Classic. Kendall Earp, the 2013 GAC Championship individual medalist, won the event, leading a Henderson State sweep of the top three finishes. The also bring back Katie Flinn, who took third at the GAC Championships. Both finished inside the top 15 at the Super Region 3 Championships.
Harding, the two-time GAC champions, placed fourth in the poll as the Lady Bisons must replace three golfers that finished in the top 15 at the GAC Championships. Brittany Marquez, the Lady Bisons top returner, earned GAC Golfer of the Month honors for October following three top-12 showings.
East Central, Southern Arkansas, Arkansas-Monticello and Ouachita Baptist rounded out the poll. Coaches did not include provisional members Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene in the preseason ballot.
Following the SAU/UAM Challenge Cup, the spring season picks up the week of February 16 with three schools - Southwestern Oklahoma State, Southern Arkansas and Northwestern Oklahoma State competing in events.
For the third-straight year, the Hot Springs County Club will serve as the host venue for the GAC Women's Championships. The event, held in conjunction with the Men's Championships, will be contested from April 13-15.