MESA, Ariz. (May 15, 2015) - Seminole State College's women's golf team capped off a historic season with a decisive tournament victory to be crowned national champions.
Following a season of school records and high-level play, the Lady Raiders won their first national championship at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women's National Championship Tournament at Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona, May 11-14.
The Raiders shot a four-round team total of 1,204 (303-298-294-309) to top the field of 15 teams, including a tournament-best team round of 294 on Wednesday. The Raiders finished with an 18-stroke lead over second-place Daytona State College, the two-time defending national champions.
"It was really challenging weather, and we were up against very good competition, but my kids performed like rock stars," says Christa Teno, head coach of the Raider women's golf team. "I'm so proud of what they accomplished today. This is big for Seminole State and for our golf program."
Raiders Sydney Legacy, Josefine Garton and Cynthia Bounleutay finished in the top five individually out of 106 golfers, earning First-Team All-America honors. Caitlin Huiting, who finished 10th, earned second-team All-America designation, and Nichada Satasuk received an honorable mention for her No. 15 finish.
The Raiders, who defeated then-No. 1 Daytona State College in the NJCAA Region 8 Qualifier last month, were the wire-to-wire leaders at the national tournament, shooting the top team score each round. They emerged from the first round leading the pack by one stroke, then pulled away with a 12-stroke advantage on the second day and widened the gap each subsequent round to seal the victory.
"We got off to a great start and only got better from there," Teno says. "It says a lot about our team's talent that they played as well as they did."
In the program's eight-year history, Teno – a two-time LPGA Southeast Section Coach of the Year – has coached the Raiders to two national second-place finishes (2012 and 2014) and an additional three top-five rankings.
This year's team achieved consistently at an elite level. They broke school records for one-, two- and three-round team stroke count totals, and the team defeated high-level competition to win four of its last five tournaments – including the national championship and the NJCAA Region 8 Qualifier last month.
This is Raider Athletics' first national championship since the men's tennis team won back-to-back titles in 1983-84.