Careen Hutchinson

Champions!

NSU Wins NCAA Division II Women’s Golf National Championship

Sharks Defeat Grand Valley State By 15 Strokes To Win 1st National Championship In NSU Athletics History

The #1 nationally ranked Nova Southeastern University women's golf team won the first NCAA National Championship in the history of NSU Athletics on Saturday afternoon, defeating Grand Valley State by 15 strokes at the Findlay Country Club.

"This is not just a women's golf team championship," said NSU head coach Kevin Marsh. "This is a complete athletic department championship, from Athletic Director Michael Mominey to Sports Information to Athletic Training to Academic Support. Everyone had a role in helping us reach this point."

Leading by 10 strokes over University of Indianapolis and by 11 strokes over Rollins College entering the final round of play, NSU shot a fourth round low team score of 307 to clinch the Championship while Indianapolis carded a 315 and Rollins shot a 314. Grand Valley State moved up to second place in the final standings by recording the second lowest score in the final round, a 309.

"Right from the beginning, we knew the best team was going to win this week," Marsh said.  "The way the course was set up and with the weather conditions the way they were, this was definitely the toughest course we have played this season.  After an average first day, we followed with a great next day by making up about 30 strokes over the course of 36 holes to lead by 10 heading into the final round of play. We felt that Rollins was the team to beat and getting off to a great start today was big for us. The experience we gained by coming in second place at last year's tournament really paid off."

The Sharks were led by sophomore two-time All-American Sandra Changkija (Orlando, Fla.), who shot a final round 75 to conclude play in a tie for second place among all individuals with Pfeiffer's Charlene Reid. Changkija was just two strokes behind tournament medalist Lyndsay McBride of Indianapolis, who carded a 77 to win the individual title. Junior three-time All-American Maria Garcia-Austt (Montevideo, Uruguay) also finished in the top ten, placing in a tie for 7th place with a final round 75. Sophomore Nicole Whitmore (Milton Keyes, England) had an impressive 14th place finish and was followed by sophomore All-American Taylor Collins (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) in 21st and sophomore Fredrika Hakansson (Vero Beach, Fla.) in 28th place.

"I'm very excited, especially after coming in second place last year,” said Garcia-Austt.  “We won a lot of tournaments this year, but we knew that this was the one that we really wanted. We had great team spirit and really pulled together as a team, which led us to win the tournament."

"It feels great," Changkija said. "We were inexperienced last year and the experience we gained from that tournament was great for us to draw upon today in the final round. We didn't really feel the nervousness and pressure that we felt a year ago."

The Sharks (1230) held off Grand Valley State (1245), who finished in second place 15 strokes back. Rollins College (1248) and University of Indianapolis (1248) tied for third place while Florida Southern (1258) rounded out the top five.

Ferris State (1275), first round leader Tarleton State (1275), Upper Iowa (1303), Concordia St. Paul ( 1318), West Texas A&M (1318), Augustana College (1354) and Cal State Chico (1361) were also in competition.

"Winning the first national championship in school history is obviously a great accomplishment," NSU Athletic Director Michael Mominey said. "This is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of coach Marsh, coach Brown and the entire women's golf team. More than this though, it is a national championship for the entire university. We share this championship with President Ray Ferrero, Dr. Frank DePiano, the board of trustees and the administration who have supported the athletic program over the years. We hope that this is only the beginning of many more national titles for the athletic department in the years to come."

The National Championship culminates a season in which the Sharks held the top ranking in the nation from beginning to end. NSU won seven of the 11 tournaments they competed in, including the NCAA Division II South Regional and the NCAA Division II National Championship. At one point during the season, NSU won a program record three consecutive tournaments and concluded the season by winning seven of their last nine competitions.