CLAREMONT, Calif. – Last season, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team cruised to its second conference championship in program history, then advanced to the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships and posted an 11th place finish. All five golfers who participated in the NCAA Championships last season for CMS are back on a 2014 team which is ranked eighth in Division III by the Women's Golf Coaches Association of America (WGCA).
That experience combined with a handful of key newcomers has the Athenas poised for another run at a conference championship in the deep Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) field. The Athenas also would like to improve on their 2013, program-best 11th place finish at the NCAA Championships.
"The non-traditional season (fall 2013) was really good for us because Redlands and Cal Lutheran in our conference along with the other programs have improved a lot, so we realized that we needed to get much better in the interim if we wanted to win conference again, and I hope that we have done that," said head coach Jodie Burton.
Redlands and Cal Lutheran – the second and third place finishers at the 2013 SCIAC Championships – finished ahead of CMS in both tournaments this past fall. CMS begins its 2014 spring season on Monday, Feb. 10 with the SCIAC Preview at Sierra La Verne Country Club.
"As a coach I am mostly trying to see how the golfers hit the ball, whether or not they are making good contact and I am also looking at whether or not they are getting up and down," said Burton. "During the early-season tournaments we are also still figuring out which golfers are going to be in our top five or six."
With five golfers back who have experience from the 2013 NCAA Championships, not a great deal will be different about the Athenas' lineup, although it will be bolstered by some key newcomers.
Junior Shaina Raskin won the 2013 SCIAC championship and was the top finisher for CMS at the NCAA Championships. Junior Tiffany Su earned SCIAC Player of the Year and All-Region honors in 2013 after a second place finish at the SCIAC Championships. Senior All-American Maya Reddy also returns for the Athenas as do sophomore Caroline Belmont, junior Marissa Suehiro, sophomore Melody Sue, senior Elizabeth Diebel and junior Kasvi Malik.
Freshmen Lindsay Slocum and Taylor Kain-Godoy are two newcomers expected to make an impact this spring. Kain-Godoy earned a top-10 finish for CMS at the Embry-Riddle Invitational in the fall.
"Our returners are going to be pushed by the younger golfers on our team this season," said Burton. "They will have to compete in practice, the league is better and the league tournaments will be much more competitive which is good for us and will help us in the long run if we are fortunate enough to get selected to go to the NCAA Championships this season."
In addition to conference competition, CMS is once again heading to the Collegiate Invitational in Jekyll Island, Ga. from March 14-16 which always proves to be a good gauge of how the team fairs on a national level.
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