SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s golf team continued its dominance of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Friday afternoon when it clinched its fourth straight conference title at the fourth and final qualifier of the season in Sioux City, Iowa.
DWU senior Dani Bellet finished her four-year career by winning an unprecedented fourth straight GPAC Women’s Golfer-of-the-Year award. She won the individual title each of her four seasons to go along with more than 20 golfer-of-the-week awards, one national player-of-the-week title and a runner-up finish at the 2011 NAIA National Championships, making her one of the most decorated athletes – in any sport – at Dakota Wesleyan and in the league.
Neither the Tigers nor Bellet took first Friday afternoon at the fourth qualifier, but that didn’t matter. Dakota Wesleyan finished in second in the team competition with a 359 – one stroke behind first-place Northwestern College. The Red Raiders shot a 358 and Morningside College took third with a 360. Hastings finished fourth with a 397 and Doane rounded out the top five with a 400.
Northwestern’s Taylor Kline won the individual title with an 81 and Morningside’s Erin Hedlund took second with an 86. Bellet and teammate Kamie Roesler tied for fourth with 88s. Bellet shot a 41 on the front nine and a 47 on the back and Roesler carded a 46 and a 42. Jenna Winckler took seventh with a 90 (44, 46), Chelsea Burback tied for 11th with a 93 (48, 45) and Talia Peters shot a 94 and tied for 13th (50, 44).
Despite not winning the fourth qualifier, the Tigers easily ran away with their fourth straight GPAC title and ninth in the past 10 seasons. DWU finished with a four-round total of 1,348 – 46 strokes ahead of the Red Raiders, who took second with a 1,394. The win seals a ninth straight trip to the NAIA National Championships for the Tigers. DWU hasn’t missed a trip to nationals since the 2003-04 season.
Bellet sealed her fourth and final individual conference title with a 10-stroke victory after four conference meets. She carded a four-round total of 318, and finished 10 strokes ahead of Northwestern’s Kline. Winckler finished her freshman season in third with a 334, and Roesler finished sixth with a 344. Burback also recorded a top-15 finish. She took 12th in the individual standings with a four-round total of 362.
The national championships run May 15-18 at Link Hills in Greeneville, Tenn. The Tigers took 22nd as a team last season, and Bellet finished second in the nation by four strokes. DWU’s top finish at nationals was a 10th-place finish in the 2003-04 season.