April 6, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The Wyoming women's golf team enters the homestretch of the 2011-12 season by hosting the sixth-annual Cowgirl Classic at the picturesque Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz., on Monday through Wednesday, April 9-11.
The Cowgirls will play host to 24 teams and a total of 128 student-athletes on the par-72 course that runs a total of 6,184 yards. All three days will begin with a 7:30 a.m. MT start, as groups will tee off holes one and 10 in 10-minute intervals and play 18 holes each day.
"The Cowgirl Classic is a unique event for us considering we host it in Arizona, but with how well we've played this spring our goal is to finish in the top five of the team race," UW head coach Josey Stender said. "Our team is very excited to represent Wyoming in our own tournament and the staff at Ocotillo always does a wonderful job helping us put on a first-class event."
The 2011 Cowgirl Classic was another record-breaking event, as Portland State claimed the team title with the best team score in tournament history at 871 (+7) and also shot the lowest round by a team with a 287 (-1) in the second round. PSU's Britney Yada carded the tournament's best individual score ever with a 213 (-3) to earn the individual title, while New Mexico State's Suteera Chanachai fired a 67 (-5) in the second round for the lowest individual round ever at the event. Yada and Portland State will be back this year.
Wyoming finished eighth in the field of 23 teams last year with a total of 920 (+56), but return three of the top four Cowgirls that competed in the event. UW will be paced by senior Juanita Rico, who is the reigning Mountain West Golfer of the Month after solid performances at four tournaments in March. She posted top-20 finishes in each, including two top-five showings, and tied the fourth-lowest individual event score in program history with a 218 (+2) at the MountainView Collegiate on March 23-24. Rico, who tied for 21st at least year's Classic, is currently fifth in the MW with a 75.14 stroke average.
"Juanita has traditionally played well on this course and I think part of that comes from her enjoying the layout," Stender said. "Her confidence is pretty high right now, so if she can dial in for three days she could have a very good finish."
Junior Dana Zamprelli and sophomore Stacey Blunt also return to Ocotillo for Wyoming. Blunt was UW's second finisher last year in a tie for 23rd place and recorded a career-low 73 (+1) earlier this season, while Zamprelli carded a career-low 71 (-1) this spring at the NAU Red Rocks Invitational. Sophomore Emily Wood will compete in UW's top five this year thanks to a breakout spring season and freshman Samantha Stancato makes her first career appearance at Ocotillo. Wyoming senior Jenna Zamprelli and redshirt freshman Kristen Jensen will compete as individuals, as they vie for a lineup spot for the upcoming MW Championships on April 20-22 in Phoenix, Ariz.
"Our strength this spring has been the ability of each team member to step up their game," Stender said. "To continue that each player needs to have responsibility and confidence in their game at this event. Taking care of themselves not only helps their individual finish, but also the team finish."
Complete results and a recap will be posted on WyomingAthletics.com following each day, while fans can follow live results on GolfStat.com by clicking on the link above.