Cavs, Vikings Lead Field At Women's Golf Championships
The reigning GNAC Player of the Year, Cammie Decker leads a Concordia squad looking to defend its team championship. Decker is second in the GNAC with a 76.9 stroke average.
The reigning GNAC Player of the Year, Cammie Decker leads a Concordia squad looking to defend its team championship. Decker is second in the GNAC with a 76.9 stroke average.

Friday, April 19, 2019

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho – One year removed from its first-ever conference title, Concordia enters the 2019 GNAC Women’s Golf Championships as one of the favorites in its hopes to repeat on Monday and Tuesday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.

The Cavaliers are coming off a championship performance in which they topped the rest of the league with a total score of 611. They have followed up that strong end to the 2017-18 season with consistent success throughout the year, earning seven top-five finishes to go along with 14 top-10 individual honors. Included in that run has been three tournament titles, the most recent coming in the Sonoma State Spring Invitational earlier this month.

Cammie Decker, the reigning GNAC Golfer of the Year, has followed her sensational sophomore season with a strong junior campaign. Decker leads CU and is slotted second in the conference with a 76.9 stroke average.

Senior Shantel Antonio is right behind her teammate, coming in at No. 3 in the league with an average of 77.5. And off to a great start to her career in Portland is freshman Kaley Saludares, whose consistent performances have earned her four top-10 finishes this year. Concordia enters the postseason ranked No. 14 in the NCAA Division II West Region Rankings.

Finishing in third last year, Western Washington also figures to be a contender for the team title after an impressive regular season. Leading the league with a 309.9 stroke average, the Vikings have posted a trio of top-three finishes this year with their best effort coming in a second-place performance at the WWU Invitational back in October.

Western Washington will rely on the experience of upperclassmen Lacy Sheldon and Nicole Miller in Coeur d’Alene. The duo have been the team and conference’s most consistent players this year, with Sheldon leading the way with a stroke average of 76.5.

Kennewick, Washington product Brianna Esvelt also figures to play a big role at the conference championship, ranking sixth in the GNAC with a stroke average of 78.9. Esvelt’s best performance this year came at the WWU Invitational, where she finished in a tie for fifth among competing GNAC individuals.

Simon Fraser comes into the tournament after playing in four events this spring. Sophomore Estee Leung is back after placing third at the GNAC Championships a year ago and will aim to replicate that success in Coeur d’Alene. She enters the postseason with a stroke average of 79.9 through 12 rounds on the year.

Senior Belinda Lin finished just one stroke behind Leung for a tie for fourth place at last year’s tournament. She is second on the team with a 78.0 stroke average and is one of three players with multiple top-10 finishes this season, led by a sixth-place performance at the Saint Martin’s Invitational in October. The team’s leader in scoring is Coquitlam, B.C. native Jaya Rampuri, who ranks fourth in the league at a clip of 77.8.

Montana State Billings comes into the tournament with some confidence after tallying a pair of top-three finishes in the spring season. The Yellowjackets achieved their best score of the year back in October at the Saint Martin’s Invitational, taking the team title with a score of 640. The team has been led by senior Shealyn Hafer, who is tied for eighth in the conference with a scoring average of 79.6. Sophomore Renae Heisler follows just behind at a clip of 81.6 entering the postseason.

Saint Martin’s will also look to replicate some of the success it had to start the spring, when it achieved a pair of top-10 finishes in two of its first three tournaments. The Saints best performance of the season came at the Puget Sound Invitational, finishing just six strokes back of first place to finish alone in third. Senior TiAnna Ford will look for her second top-five finish of the season when she takes to Coeur d’Alene. She currently leads SMU with an 85.4 stroke average.

Northwest Nazarene will be aiming to make it 2 for 2 this month in the state of Idaho after its individual victories over the College of Idaho earlier in April. Senior Stephanie Miller will look to use her experience and previous success at the GNAC Championships to her advantage, coming off a tie for 11th last season with a two-round total of 160. Miller leads the Nighthawks in stroke average this year and is followed closely by freshman Taylor Entenman, who heads to Coeur d’Alene with one top-five finish already this year.