7th in the NATION!!!!

As usual—you are probably already up on the news, but we finished 7th in the nation in the NCAA D-III National Championship!!!!  Hooray!!!  Hooray!!!  It was really an exciting week, and I couldn’t be more proud of our team and our awesome finish to a fantastic season!!!!  We went out with a bang, and it was a really great ending to this year’s golfing journey!!!

You can skip ahead and check out all the pictures, or you can read along and I will fill you in on some of the “fun details” of our 2012 National Championship experience this last week in Angola Indiana!!  I’m not sure I can capture all the highlights in writing, as some of those moments were in the van—and it’s hard to explain things like a spider being on the loose or the “so so’s”  (our new nickname for our new sophomores!) doing something funny—all things that you kind of “had to have been there for”—but let’s just say the laughs were non-stop!!!

We knew we were off to a great start when we touched down in Chicago and they announced that the George Fox women’s golf team was on the plane and headed to the National Championship!!  The entire plane cheered for us—which was really a nice way to kick off our trip!  Then, on our plane to Fort Wayne Indiana, we ran into this “rap group” who we later discovered was a pretty big deal and had a famous hit that the team actually danced to when they were in junior high!!  We listened to some of their songs in the van on our hour-long road trip to Angola until our Equip Mgr/van driver couldn’t handle it any more!!  Haha!

I have to mention that we were just the second team to register at the Championship—so we felt good getting there early and showing that we are a team that means business from Oregon! That arrival day was “Cinco de Mayo”—so what else is there to do in Angola Indiana on Cinco de Mayo but to go out to dinner at the most happening Mexican restaurant in town!!  If you have never seen anyone order French fries in a Mexican restaurant before—then you haven’t met our Loreece!!  French fries and a quesadilla apparently make for a very nice dinner combo!!  Who knew??!!

Sunday was practice and a “walk through” on the course where teams go off every 15 minutes without clubs but rather a yardage book and pencil in hand to analyze each hole and strategize their shots for the tournament!  It’s great to get to see the course, but it makes you want to have your clubs, as it’s like being in a candy store and hearing, “just look but no touching anything!”   However, we did get to roll balls on the greens to get an idea of the breaks of the greens.   I’m sure some of you probably didn’t realize that all this “strategizing” goes into it before the tournament even begins!!  We have our own “play books” that we use before we tee off for the practice round!

On Sunday night, all the teams gathered for a special clinic to help some Special Olympic and local youth kids.  It was so cool and a terrific highlight to our trip!!! Our team had some sweet girls that we got to work with on the putting green.  It really feels great giving back to our sport—and it helps everyone realize how much we have been blessed with as a team.  Lots of great pictures of this event in the slideshow!

After that, we had a quick change back at the hotel, and then we attended the “Hawaiian” social event with all the teams!  To our great surprise, Jill and Loreece were selected to go on stage and to  show some hoola moves for the audience!!!  Loreece definitely had an advantage—being from Hawaii and all, but Jill didn’t miss a beat!!!  She looked like a natural!

We had thunderstorms and rain on the morning of our practice round (which delayed our practice round by 2 hours), but then the clouds dispersed, and it was beautiful sunshine for the entire week!!!   It was so nice, it was almost like a vacation!!!!!  Well—not quite!!! 🙂  We did have to get up at 6am (3am Pacific time!) to get ready for 8am tee times on three of the four tournament days!!!  Talk about early!!!!  The sun was barely up when we were starting our practice routines and the moon was still out as well—which did make me wonder what we were doing out there!  There was also no time for “hanging by the pool” or going for a “moonlight stroll.”  It was practice practice practice!!!

I must admit though, we did make a routine stop daily for ice-cream as we had not just one but two quaint, locally owned ice cream shops along our trek to and from the course—Zesto’s and Scoops!!! I preferred Zesto’s lemon yogurt and their “razzles” (similar to Blizzards) but most of the gals like the home-made style ice cream at Scoops!!  So—two stops per day after each round!  Hey–did you know the average golf course is over 6 miles long!!  We deserved it!!

On day one—we decided to come out looking “hot,” so we sported our sonic yellow shirts and bright blue hats and got off to a great start!  The wind picked up in the afternoon for our tee time, and there were definitely some new things that came up that we hadn’t “strategized” for—but that’s golf!!  Day two was our first “early” day—and I don’t know if it was starting out on #10 or that the wind continued to be pretty strong that got to us or what—but that was our kind of “off day.”  I mean, we did okay—but a few more putts dropping—and we could have easily been pretty close to the top!

Instead, we found ourselves a little ways out of 1st, and in 10th place after day two!  Day three was much better!  We put on our new bright blue shirts, and we got back in the groove!  It was fun, and we ended the day, tied for 9th!!

So—this is kind of funny (or maybe strange!), but we liked the karma that our new blue shirts brought so much that we washed them and wore them again the next day for the final round!  I know—kind of odd, but they were under our navy pullovers for most of the round on day three (as it was sunny but a little chilly) so we thought that most people wouldn’t notice—and if they did, “so what!”  They are awesome new shirts, and we were going for it!

Which leads me to the most exciting part! On Friday—final day—we ended up tying just one other team for the lowest round of any team in the four days of the tournament—with a 306!!!  It was a great score—and moved us into a finish of 7th!!!  It was our best performance at Nationals in the last three years that we have been there!  Maybe we are learning something???

At any rate, we made a statement and showed our “potential” for being able to climb to the top!  We were just 2 strokes off of 6th, 4 strokes off of 5th and 13 strokes off of 4th and a big ol’ NCAA trophy!!!!!  So close!!!!  What’s great is each and every one of our players helped us get there!!  It was a true team effort!!!

At the end of our round—we celebrated by going out to an Italian restaurant!  The winner—Methodist—showed up as well, which only motivated us for next year!!!!  The Methodist coach sent me a text during dinner and said he noticed our great finish and knows we are going to be a contender next year!!!! He’s clearly a very smart coach!!! 🙂

Oh—I also forgot to mention that our friends, Peggy and Bob, gave us some fun little “owls” to put on our bags and when you push their wings, their eyes light up in blue and they say, “whoot whoot!”  Kind of a cheery little fellow to have along with you when you are out there working hard for your team for 5 hours!!!!  So—thank you to Peggy and Bob as the owls definitely worked their magic!!!!  We are 7th in the nation and off to the O’Brien National tournament in Notre Dame this coming fall to play in a big event there!!!!

Thank you to all of you for following along this past season—more great stories coming your way in the future—so check back from time to time!!!!  We are on the move—and looking forward to starting back up at the end of August!!!

Go Bruins!!!  Go team!!!  Whoot!  Whoot!!!

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