By DUSTIN MAIN
GREELEY – Back into the swing of things following last year's first-ever Big Sky Championship and NCAA regional appearance, the Northern Colorado Women's Golf team enters 2012-13 with a strong returning class of seniors and a group of newcomers expected to make an immediate impact.
"Coming off our championship year, I'm excited to get going again," Head Coach Brandon White said. "On paper we're going to be even better than we've been in the past. Of course, that doesn't always transfer, but the potential is definitely there."
Topping a brilliant 2011-12 campaign will be a tall task for the Bears, who were voted fifth overall in last year's preseason standings, only to catapult to the top of the class with a breakout showing in the conference championship.
Senior standout, Carleigh Silvers (Martinsville, Ind.), did the heavy lifting for the Bears at the Big Sky championship, carding a 3-under par 213 to win the tournaments' individual crown,en-route to being selected to the 2012 All Big Sky First Team. On the year, she never shot higher than an 80, while recording six top-20 finishes in nine tournaments.
"Carleigh's coming off the best year of her career," White said. "She's a great team leader and we'll be looking for her to pick up where she left off. She has a chance to be the best female golfer to play at Northern Colorado."
Overall, this year's roster features three seniors, three freshmen and only one sophomore.
"This is the biggest freshmen class we've had," White added. "When you only have a roster of seven, adding three freshmen is significant."
"Our success will be determined by how quickly the freshmen transition. These girls come from competitive backgrounds and have a great deal of tournament experience. Their talent level is so high, I'm confident they will contribute right away."
With tournament action right around the corner, the women tee-off the fall schedule at the Ptarmigan Fall Classic in Fort Collins on Sept. 10-11.
From there they are on to the Rose City Collegiate hosted by Portland State on Oct. 1-2 in Portland, Ore.
The women wrap up the fall slate on a pair of trips to the west coast, beginning on Oct. 13-14 when they square off in the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate in Palm Springs Calif. The fall finale takes place the following week on Oct. 22-23 at the Colby Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif.