Saturday, May 09, 2009

DU Rolls To NCAA East Regional Golf Title

(above) DU won the NCAA East Regional Championship on Saturday

From: Golfweek

When Denver got word they were being shipped across the country to the NCAA East Regional, the players didn’t pout or worry that they weren’t getting any respect.

Instead, they held an Ultimate Frisbee draft.

“We’re a little unique,” coach Sammie Chergo said, smiling.

With a healthy mix of fun and focus, Denver won the program’s first NCAA regional title Saturday at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course. The sixth-seeded Pioneers posted a 1-under 279 – the only sub-par round of the tournament – to erase an eight-shot deficit and top Alabama, the second seed, by four shots.

Senior Dawn Shockley notched the round of the tournament – a 4-under 66 that included five birdies. Senior Katie Kempter shot 68, and sophomores Sarah Faller and Stephanie Sherlock chipped in with a 72 and 73, respectively.

Any thoughts that the Pioneers couldn’t hang with SEC and ACC powerhouses were squashed. After all, why stress about golf when the day is still young?

“No one on our team ever gets too jacked up about golf,” said Shockley, who was the Colorado high school basketball player of the year as a senior at Estes Park High. “You’ve got to have a balance because golf can be a lot.”

That’s why, instead of pounding range balls after their rounds, the Pioneers drove a half-mile down 2nd Ave. from the Mark Bostick Golf Course to UF’s football facility. There, they put on custom-made T-shirts, marked off the field and played Ultimate Frisbee. Even coach Sammie Chergo suited up.

“It’s very easy for us to leave our games at the course,” said senior Katie Kempter. “That’s a huge part of our team.”

When Chergo started the program from scratch in 1997, she recruited players who were well-rounded in a number of sports. If golf wasn’t pursuit No. 1, that was OK. Her current squad features former softball, soccer, basketball and hockey players. Kempter even admitted to being a “marching band geek” in high school.

It’s a no-nonsense formula that has clicked, especially in the last few years. Denver won five events in the 2006-07 season and received its first regional bid, then followed that season with five team titles and a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Championship last season.

This year, Denver won three times, including its sixth consecutive Sun Belt Conference title.

Now, they’re heading back to the Big Dance knowing they belong.

“To see what’s been building, it’s so rewarding for me,” Chergo said. “But for them, too, for how they’ve grown with this program.”

DU will play in the NCAA Championships held May 19-22 at the Caves Valley Golf Club hosted by Georgetown University.

3 comments:

puck swami said...

Impressive performance. Wow.

dggoddard said...

No kidding. And they have some stud recruits coming in.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done, ladies!