Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Swinging into Regionals: Women’s Golf Wins WAC

Photo courtesy of Seattle University Athletics

Seattle University Women’s Golf secured their first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship this year, competing at The Rim Golf Club at Chaparral Pines in Payson, Ariz. They beat Abilene Christian by two strokes and ended the day with the best round of 10-over 294.

Led by WAC Player of the Year Rivekka Jumagulova and WAC Coach of the Year Marc Chandonnet, Seattle U was quite competitive throughout the season. The team has finished in the top five in seven of their 10 competitions this season. The first-place finish at the WAC Championship marked their second victory as a team this season.

But for the first portion of the tournament, it looked like the Redhawks would fall short of the title yet again—they finished second in the WAC Championship in 2023. Sophomore Tsara Ralamboarison prioritized her mindset as the tournament wore on.

“I think we were pretty focused throughout all three rounds. We started the third round knowing that we were seven shots behind the first team so we just really focused in on the moment and the process,” Ralamboarison said.

Junior Annika Cruz thought that the team was prepared going into the championship.

“We were pretty confident going into the tournament because we understood our rankings and there was only one team that we were focused on beating, which was Grand Canyon University,” Cruz said.

That confidence seemed to steel Cruz’s nerves, as she went from shooting 82 in the first round to putting together an event-best of 69 in round three. With Seattle U trailing going into the final round, Cruz emphasized the importance of a calm mentality following the first round of play during the tournament. 

“After the first round, I’m going to be honest, I was a little nervous because that was one of the worst rounds I’d shot in a while. But after that, it was just about sticking to our processes to get through the rest of them,” Cruz said. 

There were plenty of factors that contributed to the Redhawks’ late push—one being the championship’s setting in Arizona, which is a different climate than the courses that Seattle U typically practices on.

“The biggest difference with the course was the elevation, which was about 5,000 feet. The balls fly a lot farther and so we had to adjust our yardages which was a bit confusing,” Cruz said. “Plus it was a hillier course so we had to take care of our bodies more.”

The physical landscape of the course itself was also an adjustment for the team compared to what they practice on—Ralamboarison pointed out how much firmer the green was than those found on Washington courses.

The championship win was a huge moment for the team.

“It was really exciting. I knew we had a really good shot going into it but on the last day when the final scores were going in it really hit us. It was a really fun experience,” Cruz said.

Consistency is truly a pillar of this squad, as sophomore Aaryanna Morris credited her coaches for their tried and true approaches for different tournaments. 

“Every tournament, nothing changes in what they say to us. They have the same motivational words for every tournament,” Morris said. 

As the winner of the WAC Championship, Seattle U will compete in the NCAA Regional May 6-8 as the No. 12 seed at the Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Wash. If they are in the top five teams at the end of regionals, they will move on to nationals which will be composed of the 30 best teams at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. May 17-22. 

The team is ready for regionals and ready to compete in their home state, despite being underdogs.

“We are going to be in our territory in Washington, no excuses,” Ralamboarison said.

Seattle U already has one trophy this season, but they appear ready to add to the collection in the coming weeks. 

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