ANGOLA, Ind. - Sophomore Katie Zajicek fired a 2-over par 74 on Friday as the Whitman College women's golf team finished its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament on a strong note.
Playing at the Zollner Golf Course in Angola, Ind., the Missionaries shot a 320 team score - their second lowest total in the four-day tournament - to finish 12th in a field of the 19 best teams in the country.
Whitman carded a 72-hole score of 1,290, finishing just four strokes behind 11th-place Gustavus Adolphus, the runner-up at the two previous championship tournaments.
The Missionaries came close to cracking the Top 10, finishing 13 strokes behind St. Olaf and Allegheny, who tied for ninth.
Meanwhile, Methodist continued its dominance of DIII women's golf by winning its 13th consecutive title. The Monarchs held off DePauw down the stretch in the closing round, capturing their latest crown with a 1,242 tournament total.
DePauw was six strokes back in second place. Wisconsin Eau-Claire, Centre and Williams, in order, rounded out the top five.
Catherine Wagner, playing for Wisconsin Eau-Claire, won individual medalist honors with a 72-hole score of 302. St. Olaf's Molly Erickson and two Centre players, Emily Bachert and Sarah Paulson, finished one stroke back in a three-way tie for second.
"All in all, it was a good tournament for Whitman and a good way to end a great season," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said.
"We ended up exactly where we were seeded at No. 12, interestingly sandwiched between Gustavus Adolphus and Washington University, which came into the week with the lowest stroke average in the country and seeded fourth in the tournament."
Zajicek, who shot one of Friday's lowest individual shots, got started with birdies on the No. 4 and No. 5 holes and then chipped in another birdie on No. 17.
"That was an outstanding round for Katie, and the rest of the team was very solid," Molitor said.
Sophomore Catelyn Webber added an 81 for Whitman while first-year Missionary Kelly Sweeney was right behind with an 82.
Junior Tate Head hit every green on the front side, made the turn in 38 and completed the day's team score with an 83. Sophomore Elaine Whaley finished the week with an 84.
For the tournament, Sweeney topped the young Missionary roster with a 317 total.
Other Missionary tournament scores are Webber 320, Zajicek 322, Whaley 332, and Head 352.
"This was a very solid showing for a team playing in its first national tournament and playing its first-ever four-day tournament," Molitor said.
"We're excited that our entire roster returns next year, and we're determined to learn from this week's experience and find a way to get back to the national championship as soon as possible. The hope is that we can continue to moving up the national ladder."