Arizona earns No.1 seed at NCAA’s

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Courtesy of Arizona Athletics
The Arizona women's golf team poses for a celebratory photo. The Wildcats have won two tournaments in a row and should have considerable momentum going into NCAA Regionals.  

The Arizona women’s golf team is having one of the best months in Division I golf right now. The Wildcats earned a spot at their 23rd consecutive NCAA Regional Championship on Monday and will be the No. 1 seed at the Notre Dame regional site in South Bend, Ind.

The Wildcats have won two straight titles, including the PING/ASU Invitational in the first half of April, after the Wildcats remained under par in the final two rounds (-12, -3), and then earned coach Laura Ianello’s second Pac-12 Conference Championship as a coach on April 22.

Beating the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 is a well-earned accomplishment for Arizona, Ianello said. The Wildcats earned the No. 1 seed as Ianello’s squad made a late push in the month of April to climb the rankings.

“They deserve to be that No. 1 seed after winning [the] conference this year and beating out USC, UCLA and Washington,” Ianello said. “Those teams were ahead of us all year, but it feels good.”

Traveling to South Bend will also be a homecoming for junior Lindsey Weaver, who played for the Fighting Irish her freshman year and shined with Notre Dame. Weaver was named unanimous Big East Women’s Golf Player of the Year and named to the All-Big East Women’s Golf Team.

With Weaver’s experience, the Wildcats have the upper edge, even against the hosting Fighting Irish.

“I’m excited to go back to Notre Dame,” Weaver said. “I do know that the course can get pretty hard and the greens are sometimes tricky, but I think I will be able to give my team some helpful tips heading into regionals.”

Joining Arizona in South Bend will be Duke, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, UC Davis, Pepperdine, Tulane, Notre Dame, Purdue, Kent State, Louisville, San Jose State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Harvard, Troy, Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State. Arizona will be the only Pac-12 team, which can be the ideal scenario for the Wildcats.

Even though Arizona should be the favorite to win the region, don’t exclude the defending national champion — Duke. Duke is familiar with Arizona after the Wildcats finished ahead of the Blue Devils at the PING/ASU Invitational.

Duke won the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate title in Hilton Head, S.C., in early March. Duke also finished in second place at the ACC Championship, so the Blue Devils have the motive to knock off the Wildcats.

Arizona will have its hands full as the Wildcats match up with the hosting school while also trying to dethrone the defending national champions.

To go along with winning three of the last four tournaments, Arizona had a trio of Wildcats honored by the Pac-12. Weaver and senior Manon Gidali received All-Pac-12 First-Team honors for the second time in each of their careers.

Freshman Krystal Quihuis also earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. These three Wildcats have been household names all season, and the trio has potential to post the best scores at the Notre Dame regional site.

Arizona will have to adjust in South Bend, but the Wildcats have only played one home event in the spring. 

Being the No. 1 seed has a deep meaning to the Wildcats, said sophomore Wanasa Zhou.

“There’s going to be a little more traveling, and it’ll be a different atmosphere,” Zhou said, “but I believe the team will be prepared. Having that No. 1 seed will send us into regionals with a lot of confidence.”

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