By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — SCAD Savannah (Ga.) sits atop the final regular-season NAIA Women’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Thursday. The Bees accumulated 16 first-place votes and 497 points to earn their fifth-straight No. 1 ranking.
This week’s ranking is the Bees eighth No. 1, the third-most all-time behind Oklahoma City (42) and British Columbia (13). SCAD Savannah leads the NAIA in adjusted scoring average (77.44) and owns two event wins on the season. Two Bees golfers rank among the top five nationally in scoring average: senior Alazne Urizar (1st, 73.64) and sophomore Sofia Molinaro (4th, 75.32). The Bees earned an automatic berth to the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships with a 14-stroke win at The Sun Conference (TSC) Tournament. Urizar paced the Bees, as TSC individual titlist, with a 54-hole score of 222.
Defending national champion Oklahoma City accrued 482 total points and one first-place nod to earn its fourth-straight No. 2 ranking. The Stars have won two events on the year and are tied for second nationally in adjusted scoring average (77.69), while placing eighth in strength of schedule. Defending national runner-up Elia Folch leads the Stars as the NAIA’s No. 2 golfer this season with an adjusted scoring average of 74.41. She has recorded an NAIA-best 61 birdies this year. Oklahoma City clinched an automatic berth to the national championships by besting the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament field by 14 strokes. Folch led the way with a 36-hole score of 146, good for the individual title.
After winning the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Tournament title by 31 strokes, British Columbia jumps to No. 3 in the poll with 453 total points and one first-place vote. The defending national runner-up Thunderbirds hold a 78.48 adjusted scoring average, fifth among NAIA programs. British Columbia shot a 36-hole score of 610 in the A.I.I. Tournament, dominating three other ranked opponents. The Thunderbirds were led by senior Casara Hong who shot a 151 to finish as the tournament runner-up individually.
No. 4 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 5 Northwood (Fla.) round out the top five with 451 and 433 points, respectively. The Patriots, who boast an NAIA-best 10 event wins on the year, qualified for the national championship as the Mid-South Conference Tournament champion with a 54-hole total of 922. Cumberlands, which ranks fourth nationally in adjusted scoring average (78.33), ran away from the field to win by 29 strokes. The Patriots’ top golfer, junior Bri-Anne Tokariwski, ranks 20th nationally in adjusted scoring average (77.96). The Seahawks hold the sixth-best adjusted scoring average in the NAIA (79.14) and placed third in TSC Tournament behind No. 1 SCAD Savannah and No. 9 USC Beaufort (S.C.).
Within the poll, No. 9 USC Beaufort made the largest jump, moving up three spots, while former No. 11 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) fell four positions, landing at No. 15.
No. 24 St. Andrews (N.C.) returned to the poll after besting the 10-team field at the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament by 26 strokes.
SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) (No. 22) fell out of the Top 25 after finishing fifth in the AAC Tournament.
The Association of Independent Institutions—British Columbia, No. 11 Victoria (B.C.), No. 12 Cal State San Marcos and No. 18 Houston-Victoria (Texas)—and The Sun Conference—SCAD Savannah, Northwood, USC Beaufort and No. 10 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)—lead all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groupings with four teams among the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2013-14 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) Ten different programs have been ranked No. 1 all-time… Oklahoma City leads the NAIA with 42 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by British Columbia with 13 and SCAD Savannah (Ga.) with eight… Two programs have held the No. 1 ranking for an entire season: British Columbia (2001) and Oklahoma City (2003, 04, 07, 08)… SCAD Savannah has been ranked in 57-straight polls since returning to the NAIA in 2003… Oklahoma City has been ranked among the top five in 33-straight polls, including 15 No. 1 rankings, dating back to Feb. 27, 2009…Former-member Mary-Hardin Baylor (Texas) (2000), British Columbia (2001), Oklahoma City (2007, 08) and former-member California Baptist (2011) are the only Preseason No. 1 teams to go on to win the National Championships during the same season… SCAD Savannah is looking to become the third program to hold the No. 1 ranking throughout an entire season and the fifth Preseason No. 1 to go on to win the national title.
2013-14 NAIA Women’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (May 8)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||SCAD Savannah (Ga.) (16)||497|
|2||2||Oklahoma City (1)||482|
|3||4||British Columbia (1)||453|
|6||6||William Woods (Mo.)||427|
|9||12||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||360|
|12||13||Cal State San Marcos||322|
|13||14||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||307|
|15||11||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||280|
|20||20||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||185|
|23||22||William Penn (Iowa)||149|
|24||RV||St. Andrews (N.C.)||129|
|25||24||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||96|
Others Receiving Votes: SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 80; Campbellsville (Ky.) 60; Madonna (Mich.) 55; Marian (Ind.) 52; Milligan (Tenn.) 35; Thomas (Ga.) 29; Columbia (Mo.) 12; Tennessee Wesleyan 3; Loyola (La.) 3; Southeastern (Fla.) 3; Grand View (Iowa) 3; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 3.