Golf competes at regionals

The Portland State women’s golf team hopes to keep its spectacular season alive this week with a strong showing at the NCAA West Regionals.

The Vikings won a spot at the event with their first place finish at the Big Sky Conference Championships on April 23, where they shot a conference-record 905 over 54 holes at the Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear, Ariz.

Regional competition began today at yet another Arizona location, the 6,256 yard, par-72 Karsten Golf Club, and will continue through Saturday.

While in Arizona, PSU will face some stiff competition from nationally ranked opponents Pepperdine (No. 2), Oklahoma State (No. 3), USC (No. 4) and UCLA (No. 13). This is the first time the Viking team, which is only in its sixth season of competition, has advanced past the BSC Championships.

“We’re more excited than nervous. We’ve been in some good tournaments this year and have played against most of these teams before. We’ve earned the right to be there and, hopefully, we’ll surprise a lot of people,” said Viking head coach Felicia Johnston.

Viking senior Taya Battistella was able to compete individually at regionals in 2001 after winning the BSC individual title, an honor that she also earned this season.

The top eight teams and two individual competitors in the regionals will earn the right to compete at the NCAA Championships on May 20-23 in Indiana.

Johnston joins Battistella in winning a top honor this season, having been named BSC Coach of the Year last week by her peers. Johnston, who took home that same award while coaching NAU in 1999, is already looking ahead to next season. She recently announced that Lisa Kajihara, an accomplished senior golfer at King Kekaulike High School in Hawaii, has signed a national letter of intent to join the team for the 2003-04 school year.

“I’ve been watching her since last summer, and she has a lot of national experience,” Johnston said. “Lisa will be a great asset to our program and continuing success. Not only is she a good golfer, but she’s a great student as well.”