Women’s golf is named No. 7 in Central Regional

Amanda Vasil

After clinching its eighth-consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship crown, the Kent State women’s golf team was named the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Central Regional Championships.

The Central Regional, to be held in Bryan, Texas, will begin May 11 and conclude May 13 at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M.

Eight teams from the 21-team field in the Central Regional, along with two individuals, will advance to the NCAA Championships May 23-26 in Columbus.

Kent State is the only team to advance to regionals from the MAC and will compete against teams such as Duke, Southern California and Texas A&M. Its seventh seed is the highest Kent State has ever had in its six years at regionals.

“This is an absolutely loaded field with very good teams from top to bottom,” Kent State coach Mike Morrow said in an online press release. “Perhaps in the other regions there is a drop off, but not in ours where the teams are very strong. When you look at the top and see Duke, Pepperdine and Texas A&M, then all the way down and Texas is the No. 17 seed … that’s a loaded field.”

Seeded No. 1 in the NCAA East and West Regionals are Arizona State and UCLA, respectively.

Last season, the Flashes tied for No. 11 at regionals, which were held in Lubbock, Texas. Since 2000, the team has advanced to the NCAA Championships twice, in 2001 and 2003.

Kent State has won three tournaments this season, including the Shootout at the Legends, the Northern Invitational and the MAC Championships. The team is ranked No. 20 in the women’s collegiate golf rankings and polls, and was named Golfweek’s college team of the week after claiming victory at the Northwestern Invitational earlier this spring.

This past weekend at the MAC Championships, the Flashes scooped up individual MAC honors along with their title. Sophomore Tara Delaney was named MAC Golfer of the Year after finishing the tournament with 1-under-par 287. Freshman Kirby Dreher was selected as MAC Freshman of the Year. For the seventh time in eight years, Morrow was named MAC Coach of the Year.

Now shifting their focus to the Central Regional, the Flashes prepare to play at the Tradition’s Club for the second time this season and the third time in the past two years. In March, Kent State finished No. 7 of 18 teams at the “Mo”Morial Invitational and tied for No. 2 at the same tournament in 2005.

“It is probably the most difficult course we have played in collegiate golf, but having played four rounds there in the last two years, we should know the course better than anyone but Texas A&M,” Morrow said. “We should have an advantage in knowing what it takes to play well there.

“It should be an exciting tournament because no lead is safe on that course,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great test of golf.”

Contact assistant sports editor Amanda Vasil at [email protected].