Women’s preview: Western Athletic Conference

Editor’s note: College golf is dormant in January, so let Golfweek’s annual conference preview series serve as a bridge to the spring season. Here you’ll find fall highlights and spring predictions for each conference with an automatic qualifying spot in the postseason. The series (read all stories here) runs from Jan. 12 to Feb. 11.

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Western Athletic Conference

Conference championship: April 20-22, Wigwam Red Course, Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Defending champion: New Mexico State

Conference members (Golfweek ranking in parentheses): New Mexico State (68), Grand Canyon (117), Seattle (135), Utah Valley (198), Missouri-Kansas City (200), Chicago State (227), Texas-Pan American (239) and Cal State-Bakersfield (250)

Conference favorite: New Mexico State started its fall with three top fives, including at win at the Utah Valley and BYU Invitational. The defending WAC champs bring back two First Team All-Conference selections in juniors Kacey Dalpes and Viviana Macias.

Could challenge: The conference newcomers could be a serious threat at Wigwam. Grand Canyon, which made the transition to Division I play last season and was unable to compete as a team in the WAC Championship, played well in the fall, accruing a 34-28 head-to-head record. The Antelopes bring back one of the top players in the conference in senior Charlotte Jaengkit.

Sleeper: Seattle brings back four golfers from a team that placed third at the WAC Championship last year. That experience could play a factor in the spring.

Midseason All-Conference team: Charlotte Jaengkit, Grand Canyon (senior); Camille Orito, NMSU (sophomore); Viviana Macias, NMSU (junior); Kacey Dalpes, NMSU (junior) and Amanda Beyke (Seattle)

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