FRANKLIN, Tenn. – If you did not know much about women’s college golf, you might think the Bowl Championship Series is in charge of selecting the field for the NCAA Championship. Just one of the 24 participating teams comes from a non-BCS conference – Pepperdine, from the West Coast Conference.
And the Waves are hardly a mid-major in golf.
Even with the dominance of big schools in women’s golf, a pair of teams from the big-school leagues made their first trips to the finals this year: North Carolina State and Colorado.
For North Carolina State and head coach Page Marsh it was a long time in the making.
“This is a culmination of the 12 years, and we are proud of all the players we have had coming through,” said Marsh, who is in her 12th year as the head coach at North Carolina State. “It is a tribute to everybody who has come through the program that has helped build the momentum to get here.”
The Wolfpack had the better week of the two newcomers, tying for 13th, five shots in front of Colorado, which was 18th.
There is a uniqueness to the North Carolina State coaching staff. Marsh brought on a couple of veterans to help her mold this squad. Todd Selders, who spent 10 years at SMU, is Marsh’s assistant, and Sally Austin serves as volunteer assistant. Austin spent 16 years as the head coach at North Carolina.
“You have two other experienced head coaches, and everyone has a lot to offer in their own way,” Marsh said. “It’s great for me to have two people who have gone through all of this. Collectively, we have almost 40 years of head coaching experience. I think that was a very positive variable.”
For Colorado, it was a bittersweet week. Head coach Anne Kelly’s team came to the finals with a chance of posting a top-10 finish. Colorado entered at No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. However, the Buffaloes could not build on an 11th-place standing after the opening round and slid to 18th.
“Our goal all year was to get to the NCAA Championship and compete for it,” Kelly said. “We were just a little off, a couple of shots per player off. You take that and learn from it. It was a good season.”