Bears Kick Off NCAA West Regional Play Thursday


May 9, 2012

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ERIE, Colo. - The Missouri State women's golf team arrived in Erie, Colo. on Tuesday (May 8) and will begin its quest as one of the underdogs at the NCAA West Regional Championship, May 10-12.

Following its come-from-behind victory at the 2012 State Farm-Missouri Valley Conference Championships, Missouri State clinched an automatic bid as the league champion and awaited its destination from the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Committee on April 30. The Bears, who earned just their second NCAA postseason appearance in school history, received a No. 22 seed in the West Regional.

"It's going to be a great experience," head coach Kevin Kane said. "It's like the NCAA Basketball Tournament; it seems like there is always one or two cinderellas. That will be the message, `every year there is a cinderella, so why not us?'"

Missouri State is set to kick off the 54-hole tournament on Thursday at 1:55 CT, beginning on the 10th tee at the Colorado National Golf Club. On the second day of action, the Bears will tee off on the first hole at 9:25 CT.

The Bears will be led by the same five that captured the MVC title two weeks ago including All-MVC selections Kelsey Welber and Catherine Dolan, Megan Thompson, Emma Clegg and Hermine Greyling.

It marks the 51st time that a Missouri State squad has qualified for the NCAA postseason in 30 years of being in the NCAA Division I ranks. The milestone of 50 NCAA appearances came in the fall when women's volleyball received an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament.

Twenty-four teams will compete in the West Regional and half of the squads were automatic qualifiers after winning their respective conference tournaments. Teams that will play the 6575-yard, par-72 course include (seed order): UCLA, LSU, North Carolina, Colorado, California, Baylor, Pepperdine, UC Davis, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Tulsa, TCU, Iowa State, Stanford, Denver, UNLV, New Mexico, Oregon State, Illinois, Kennesaw State, San Jose State, Northern Colorado and Jackson State.

Of the 126 participants selected for the West Regional, the top eight teams and two individuals will advance to the NCAA Championships, played May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

If Missouri State advances to Franklin, it would mark the first time in program history that the Bears have moved past the regional round. In 2001, the Missouri State women's golf squad advanced to the West Regional in Corvallis, Ore. and placed 19th out of 21 teams. Freshman Keeley Dolan was the Bears' highest finisher tying for 45th place.

Two other regional tournaments will be conducted May 10-12 to determine the NCAA Championship field. The regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championships competition. The other sites include the East Regional in State College, Pa. and the Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio.



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