WP Women's Golf Heading Back to Nationals After Conference Championship Print
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Written by Eduardo Zamarripa   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 15:27

William Penn women's golf is getting used to coming out on top this time of year. The Statesmen torched the field at Edmundson Golf Course this past week to claim their fourth straight conference championship and punch their ticket to Nationals.

Penn dominated the two-day event, beating Grand View by 38 strokes and setting a new school record for a 36-hole tournament with a total score of 607 strokes. The Statesmen placed five players in the top 9, led by Senior Jodi Saito's performance. Saito finished in second place with a 9 over par outing. This is Saito's first year playing with the traveling team and she's now been a part of three conference championships after transferring in from Dodge City as a sophomore.

"I never expected leaving Dodge and be a part of, you know, going to three nationals. Like that's pretty amazing, I never thought of that, ever. Just getting that chance to go one time is crazy to me,” Saito says.

But Saito wasn't alone in doing some damage. Sophomore Helene Larsen and Junior Miranda Keeler also stood out finishing tied for third, just a stroke behind Saito. The win for Penn means the Statesmen can now look forward to Nationals next week. That’ll be Larsen's first appearance on the big stage.

“I know a lot of girls on the team just need to stay level-headed, myself included, absolutely. Golf is a very mental game, everybody has the swing they need to have, and has the tools in their bags. It's definitely just a thing about keeping the mental state where it needs to be and staying level throughout,” Larsen says.

This also marks the fourth straight trip for Head Coach Nik Rule.

“We had nine players make the all-conference team, which nine out of the 15 all-conference players were William Penn student athletes. So we really feel that we have a little chip on our shoulder because we feel like we've been disrespected. And we feel like we can go and finish Top 10 and even better than that. It's going to take some hard work the next two weeks, but I think we're ready to go and send a message, that yeah we're a Top 25 team and everyone recognizes that, but we're a lot better than that,” Rule says.

Penn is currently ranked No. 24 in the country. The Statesmen will hope to crack the Top 10 at Nationals next Tuesday, May 23 at the PGA National Golf Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Penn will be paired up with Faulkner from Alabama and Taylor from Indiana for the first two days of the event. If the Statesmen make the cut, then they would compete in the next two days of the tournament.

Penn will rely on the depth that led the squad to seven tournament titles and a whopping nine players making the Heart of America Athletic Conference Team. That recognition is given to the 15 golfers with the lowest stroke average. Sophomore Elise Warne earned Player of the Year honors for Penn. Coach Rule took home Coach of the Year.