April 27, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The Florida State women’s golf team has once again proven that it is one of the most consistent teams in collegiate golf as it has been selected to participate in the NCAA Championship tournament for the 16th time in the last 19 seasons. The Seminoles will travel to the NCAA East Regional Championship at the Mark Bostic Golf Course at the University of Florida May 7-9. It marks the fourth consecutive season and the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Seminoles will play in a regional with a chance to qualify for the NCAA Championship finals.
A total of 63 teams and nine individuals were selected to play in the three different locations to determine the top 24 teams in the nation who will then compete in the NCAA Championship Tournament May 19-22 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md.
The Seminoles have played in all but three regional championships since the NCAA adopted the regional qualifying format in 1991. Dillman, in her 25th season, has led Florida State to 16 regional appearances and eight championship round appearances. Florida State has finished in the national top-20 in three of the last six years and finished in a tie for 16th place in the national championship tournament in 2006.
“I’m really proud of this group because they persevered and gave everything they had to each other from the start of practice back in August,” said head coach Debbie Dillman. “We’ve been through sickness, injuries and missing a player because of the World Championship during the fall season. But they all hung in there and we have put ourselves in the position we want to be in each year at this time – in the NCAA Tournament.”
Florida State, which has earned three top-10 team finishes this season, finished in fifth place at the Cougar Classic during the fall season and in sixth place at last week’s ACC Championship. The Seminoles have played the nation’s 19th toughest schedule according to GolfWeek Magazine and are ranked as the sixth best team in the ACC which is generally considered be the nation’s top collegiate conference for women’s golf.
“We really scheduled up this season and are very happy with our results against the nation’s top teams,” said Dillman. “We feel that our experience playing with and against some of the nation’s strongest team all year long will benefit us during the month of May.”
Florida State is led by three-time All-American Caroline Westrup (Ahus, Sweden) who will lead the Seminoles into the regional championship for the third time in her career. She is averaging a team-leading 74.16 strokes in seven tournaments as a senior. Though slowed during the spring season because of an illness, Westrup earned three top 15 individual titles and took home medalist honors at the Cougar Classic in leading the Seminoles to the team championship during the fall season. She is expected to be named to the All-ACC team for the fourth consecutive season next week when the individual conference honors are announced by the league office.
“It’s great to be going back to regionals with my teammates,” said Westrup. “Many people say that golf is an individual sport but it is truly a team sport. Playing is a whole lot more fun when we are surrounded by our teammates.”
Westrup – Florida State’s only senior – joins a short list of Seminole players who will play in the NCAA Tournament in each of their four years as a member of the Seminole varsity team. Florida State’s senior classes in 1994, 1999, 2004 and now 2009 have all played in four consecutive NCAA championship tournaments.
Westrup will be joined in the line-up by junior Lacey Agnew (Jonesboro, Ga.), sophomore Macarena Silva (Santiago, Chile) and freshmen Hannah Thomson (Perth, Australia) and Whitney Wenglasz (Oldsmar, Fla.). Westrup (tied for fifth) and Silva (tied for 81st place) are playing in the NCAA championship tournament for the second consecutive season while Agnew, Thomson and Wenglasz will be on the NCAA championship stage for the first time in their careers.
Florida State was defeated by LSU in a one-hole playoff and did not advance to the NCAA Championship finals in 2008. The Seminoles and the Tigers finished tied for eighth in the team standings and played in a sudden-victory playoff which was won by the Tigers. With all five players teeing off of hole No. 1, the Tigers earned one birdie and four pars while the Seminoles earned five pars.
The Seminoles finished eighth in the NCAA Regional and tied for 19th at the NCAA Championship in 2003. In 2004, Florida State finished fourth in the NCAA Regional and tied for 19th at the NCAA Championship. In 2006 the Seminoles also finished fourth at the NCAA Regional and tied for 16th at the NCAA Championship. In 2007, the Seminoles finished in a tie for 11th at the NCAA East Regional in Baton Rouge, La and finished in a tie for eighth last season at the University of Texas Golf Course in Austin, Tex.
NCAA East Regional Teams: Virginia, Auburn (Southeastern Conference champion), Alabama, North Carolina, Duke, Denver (Sun Belt Conference champion), Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tulane (Conference USA champion), Florida, East Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Furman (Southern Conference champion), Charleston, Florida State, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina (Big South Conference champion), Stetson (Atlantic Sun Conference champion), Jackson State (Southwestern Athletic Conference champion) (in order of seeds)