FOREST, Va. --- It has not taken long for ODAC women's golf to thrust itself into the national scene. Beginning with one or two national level players three-and-a-half seasons ago, ODAC women's golf currently boasts three teams ranked inside the country's top-40 and six players slotted 84th or better according to the NCAA Division III team and player rankings by Golfstat (www.golfstat.com) following the fall campaign.
Washington and Lee University, winners of last season's ODAC championship at Rock Barn Golf & Spa, is one of those highly rated squads, currently featuring 19th* in the country. The Generals were rated as high as #7 in the country in 2015-16. Bridgewater College, behind the strong play of 2015 ODAC individual medalist Christina Herbert, leads the conference's contingent with a #13* national ranking. Two-time league title winner Randolph-Macon College sits 35th*.
Herbert heads the list of all conference golfers in stroke average entering the spring season, carrying a 74.7 per round average as teams and players prepare to make a run towards the 2016 ODAC Championships at Stoney Creek Golf Course in Wintergreen, Va.
Along with teammate Marin Warring (84th*), Herbert (23rd*) arms the Eagles with two top-100 golfers. The duo combined for eight top-10 finishes in the fall, including three event victories for Herbert at the Lynn Schweizer Invitational, Generals Invitational, and Bridgewater Fall Invitational. Warring boasts a 78.6 scoring average, while Andrea Walker's 80.6 clip and Danielle Cook's 84.0 standard slots BC just two total strokes behind Washington and Lee (2,217 to 2,219) towards the ODAC's second-best team average at 317.0 strokes per round.
Washington and Lee's trio of Liza Freed, Mary-Frances Hall, and Caroline Holloway burst on the scene as first-year standouts last season, with Freed (honorable mention) and Hall (second team) earning WGCA All-American honors. The Generals placed 14th at the 2015 NCAA Division III Championships, led by Freed's individual 18th place showing. Holloway and Hall tied for 47th. Now in their second seasons, they continued that trend in the fall with each ranked inside the nation's top-40 -- Freed at #26*, Holloway at #36* and Hall at #40*. Freed is second in the conference with a 77.3 average, while Holloway and Hall sit fifth and sixth at 78.4 and 78.6, respectively. Dana Droz (83.6) and Sara Moir (86.4), who both were members of W&L's lineup at the NCAA Championships, add to the Generals' depth.
Randolph-Macon (329.0) features the remaining top-100 golfer in the ODAC's ranks in two-time conference individual medalist Olivia Bowlling (35th*). Her 78.1 per round average sits fourth in the league, bolstered by a pair of top-10 finishes including third place at the NYU Fall Invitational. Tracy Moriconi (82.8), Ruby Rim (83.3) and Rebecca Ream (85.6) give the Yellow Jackets a solid top-five lineup.
Hollins University took to the links for five team rounds in the fall, posting a 465.4 per round average. Shelby Estes leads the charge with an 86.4 average that includes two top-10 finishes with a fourth-place showing at the Wintergreen Shootout.
Eastern Mennonite University and Shenandoah University continue to build their program as the newest squads in the conference picture. Brittany McDonaldson looks to build off of 2014-15 with a solid showing in the spring. Shenandoah's trio of Emily Conrad (95.4), Harper Matthews (100.0) and Sara Eadie (102.0) lead the Hornets into their second spring season.
Play for conference teams begins Monday, March 7, with three squads slated to participate in the TaylorMade/Adidas Intercollegiate hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University. For more information on ODAC women's golf, visit any of the participating school's websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook. You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter@odacathletics.
*Rankings as of 2/16/16