April 19, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -
The University of Wyoming women's golf team removed the cellar-dweller moniker from the program on Saturday at the 2008 Mountain West Conference Women's Golf Championship in Albuquerque, by finishing the tournament in sixth place of seven teams. Wyoming shot 322 (+30) during the final round and totaled 968 (+92) over 54 holes, one shot better than San Diego State.
UW shot rounds of 319 (+27) on Thursday and 327 (+35) on Friday.
It was the first time since the formation of the MWC that the Wyoming women did not finish in last place.
In 2000, the first year of the MWC, the Cowgirls placed fourth of five teams due to the disqualification of another school. The following year (2001) UW was last by 34 shots, then last by 49 strokes in 2002 and behind by 55 shots in 2003. At the 2004 MWC Championship the Cowgirls finished last and were 88 strokes behind the next closest school. In 2005, UW was 39 strokes from the back of the field, in 2006 they were 20 strokes removed and Wyoming placed seventh by one slim stroke last season.
"Even though we did not play our best golf, we were competitive during this tournament," said Cowgirl head coach Josey Stender. "This whole season can be summed up with the fact that we were competitive in the Mountain West Conference, which is one of the best in the nation. It's been a process, getting everyone to believe that they can compete at this level. However, I felt like we came together as a team and that everyone was working towards the same goals."
Wyoming's top finishers were sophomores Sarah Fogerty and Jonelle Martinez, who tied for 22nd place with three-round scorecards of 239 (+20). UW senior Laura Mengelkamp had the team's best round on Saturday with a mark of 79 (+6). The event was the final collegiate competition for three Cowgirl seniors; Kaelee Aegerter, Lindsay Bauknecht and Mengelkamp.
The New Mexico Lobos claimed the top team spot on their home course with a final round 299 (+7) and a 54-hole total of 888 (+12). The win marked the Lobos' fifth MWC Women's Golf Championship title and first since winning four straight titles from 2000-2003. BYU, who has never won an MWC Women's Golf title, finished 19 strokes back with a 907 (+31) total to earn second place honors. UNLV was third at 916 and TCU fourth with a score of 923, followed by Colorado State fifth (942), UW (968) and SDSU (969).
Jodi Ewart of New Mexico captured her second individual title after firing a final round one-under-par 72, giving her a championship total of even-par 219. Ewart is the first MWC women's golfer to earn back-to-back individual MWC titles. BYU's Natalia Jimenez and New Mexico's Morgan Grantham finished two strokes behind Ewart at 221 (+2).
The MWC announced its all-conference team and individual awards at the conclusion of the Championship. Ewart and TCU's Valentine Derrey were named the Co-Players of the Year, while UNLV's Therese Koelbaek earned Freshman of the Year honors. New Mexico head coach Jill Trujillo was selected the Coach of the Year. The all-conference team consisted of BYU's Juli Erekson and Jimenez, UNM's Mikaela Backstedt, Britney Choy and Ewart, Derrey from TCU, as well as Koelbaek and Natasha Krishna from UNLV.
The three-day, 54-hole event was played at the University of New Mexico's Championship Course, which is par 73 and measures 6,167 yards.
This was the final event of the 2007-08 season for the Cowgirl Golf team.