Stevens: UNM Lobos Begin NCAA Play in Washington
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/28/2014

New Mexico Lobos – At The 2014 NCAA West Regionals

When/Where: May 8-10 -- Tumble Creek Club, Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Washington

West Regional Seeds: 1. Southern California. 2. Arizona State. 3. Oklahoma. 4. Washington. 5. Clemson. 6. Wake Forest. 7. Northwestern. 8. Michigan State. 9. Iowa State. 10. GRU-Augusta. 11. Oregon. 12. Texas A&M. 13. UC Davis. 14. Denver. 15. San Diego State. 16. Wisconsin. 17. Gonzaga. 18. Notre Dame. 19. Tennessee. 20. Chattanooga. 21. New Mexico. 22. New Mexico State. 23. Portland State. 24. Detroit

 By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The Road to Tulsa and the 2014 NCAA Championships has been opened and Jill Trujillo’s No. 21 seed New Mexico Lobos will start about 2,000 miles and several upsets away in Cle Elum, Washington trying to become one of eight teams that advance to the finals.

The West Regional won’t be an easy path to ride into Oklahoma.  That Washington regional features eight teams in Golfstat.com’s Top 25 including the No. 1 ranked Southern California Trojans.

However, the Lobos don’t have to beat USC.  They have to beat 16 other teams in the 24-team regional also heading to the Tumble Creek Club at the Suncadia Resort looking to advance to the May 20-23 finals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“The obvious (goal) is to try and qualify for the national championship,” said Trujillo. “I would like nothing more than to give that to Sammi (Stevens) and Manon (De Roey) in their senior year, to take them to nationals and have them do well there.

“We have a tradition of making it to the regional event. Just the fact that we are going is very important to our team.”

The Lobo earned the Mountain West’s automatic bid by winning the league crown by a single stroke over San Jose State, which did not make the NCAA field.  The Lobos were hovering on the NCAA bubble heading into the MW finale, but eliminated any bubble worries by winning the 2014 MW title.

“We knew we had to win conference if we wanted to go to regionals, “said freshman Katerina Jaeger. “It was exciting that we won.”

The final at-large bids in the NCAA field had golfstat.com rankings in the 50s.  UNM was ranked No. 72 so the MW title was a pivotal win for Trujillo’s Lobos.  San Jose State’s Regan De Guzman and Fresno State’s Madchen Ly made the West Regional as individuals after their teams did not receive at-large bids.

The Lobos met at Kelly’s on Central Ave., for Monday’s NCAA Selection Show and the Lobos were pretty calm and collected knowing they already had an NCAA automatic bid in their golf bags.

“I’m real excited,” said De Roey of UNM’s NCAA bid. “I always had a plan to go to regionals this year.  It was on my calendar.”  

San Diego State also was placed in the West Regional as the No. 15 seed while UNLV was shipped to Stillwater, Oklahoma to play in the Central Regional as a No. 16 seed.  

The NCAA uses three regionals – East, Central, West – to form the national finals with eight teams and two individuals advancing from each regional.  Duke is the No. 1 seed in the East and UCLA is the No. 1 seed in the Central.  USC was given the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, which also includes New Mexico State as the No. 22 seed.

The last five seeds in each of the three regionals were automatic qualifiers with conference titles.

“Every golf team going to the NCAA Tournament has worked tirelessly all year and my team is no exception,” said Trujillo. “I don’t even have to ask these young ladies to work hard.  They do it on their own.  They have pride in what they do. They have pride in their teammates.”

There are 378 golfers in the regional competitions and 126 golfers will advance to the NCAA finals – five golfers off each of the 24 teams that survive the regional play and two individuals from each regional who did not advance with their team. \

“I think we can play pretty good at regionals,” said freshman Manon Molle', whose par on the final hole handed UNM the 2014 crown.

Said freshman Eva Saulnier, who joined the team at the semester break in January: “I didn’t know if I would play at first because I just came in January, so I’m really happy to be here playing in regionals. I’m starting to get used to things, but it’s still really new for me.”

Here are the other two NCAA regional sites and teams:

East Regional -- SouthWood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Florida.

1. Duke. 2. South Carolina. 3. Stanford. 4. Vanderbilt. 5. Pepperdine. 6. UCF. 7. Virginia. 8. Auburn. 9. NC State. 10. Florida State. 11. Kentucky. 12. Tulane. 13. Louisville. 14. Baylor. 15. East Tennessee State. 16. Georgia. 17. Campbell. 18. East Carolina. 19. Texas State. 20. College of Charleston. 21. Troy. 22. Murray State. 23. Seton Hall. 24. Alabama State.

Central Regional -- Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma

1. UCLA. 2. Arkansas. 3. Alabama. 4. Arizona. 5. LSU. 6. Oklahoma State. 7. Florida. 8. North Carolina. . 9. Ohio State. 10. Miami (Fla.). 11. Mississippi State. 12. California. 13. Kent State. 14. Kansas. 15. Texas. 16. UNLV. 17. Colorado. 18. SMU. 19. Minnesota. 20. Harvard. 21. Lamar. 22. Wichita State. 23. LIU-Brooklyn. 24. Siena.