MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s golf team makes its 10th appearance at the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships next week, and the Tigers are hoping their 10th appearance goes as well as the first.
DWU, which has qualified for nationals each year since the 2003-04 season, finished in 10th place as a team in 2004 at its first-ever trip to the national meet. That marks the highest finish for the Tigers in the years since. The highest finish for coach Adam Anderson in his first seven trips so far is 17th in both 2007 and 2008.
This marks the eighth straight trip to nationals for Anderson, who was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Coach-of-the-Year earlier this month after guiding Dakota Wesleyan to its fifth straight conference title. This year, the national meet runs May 21-24 at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, Neb., and is hosted by Doane College.
Anderson brings a squad that had a good mix of experience and youth to Lincoln for this year’s national tournament. This marks the third straight national tournament appearance for junior Chelsea Burback, the second for sophomores Jenna Winckler and Talia Peters and the first appearance for freshman Lauren Fitts and sophomore Natalie Turner. If the rest of the season is any indication, however, Fitts should have no problem fitting right in. The freshman from Brookings, S.D., won GPAC golfer-of-the-year honors after beating Burback by eight strokes in the league’s individual standings. She finished in the top 20 at every meet the Tigers competed in.
Burback finished second in the league standings this year and is looking to improve on her individual finish at last year’s national meet. She shot a three-round total of 262 and took 118th. As a freshman, Burback tied for 102nd with a 352. Winckler and Peters earned All-GPAC honors after finishing third and ninth, respectively, in the conference standings. Winckler tied for 122nd with a 264 last season and Peters tied for 131st with a 275.
Dakota Wesleyan finished in 24th with a 1,013 at last year’s national meet in Greeneville, Tenn. The Tigers failed to make the cut after the third round where the top 17 teams advance to the final day of competition.
The Tigers start their tournament run Tuesday, May 21, on No. 10 at Wilderness Ridge. Dakota Wesleyan tees off at 7:30 a.m. with William Woods (Mo.) and Victoria (British Columbia). In the second round Wednesday, DWU tees off in the afternoon on No. 1 with the same group.