NORTHFIELD, Minn.––The Carleton College women’s golf team opens the 2012-13 season ranked 18th in the preseason Golf World/NGCA Division III College Women’s Preseason Coaches’ poll.
The Knights, who finished 2011-12 ranked 20th, return a trio of starters under 12th-year head coach Eric Sieger.
Sophomores Gina Kabasakalis (Alameda, Calif./College Prep) and Taylor Wells (Rochester, Minn./Century) were both All-MIAC and NGCA all-region picks a year ago. The duo recorded the two best scoring averages in school history last year. Kabasakalis set the single-season scoring record with an 80.3 average in her first collegiate season, while Wells was only 11 shots back with an 81.0 average.
They’ll be joined at the top of Carleton’s line-up by classmate Kelsey Moede (Lake Oswego, Ore.), who ended her rookie season with an 84.3 average, the eighth-lowest in school history. Moede’s 80.0 spring-season average was the best on the team.
“We’re pretty confident with those three leading us this year,” Sieger said. “We’ll still be very young, but those three are experienced and tested. I’m excited to see what the three of them can do this season.”
First-year players Grace Gilmore (Edina, Minn.) and Mara Daly (St. Louis Park, Minn.) round Carleton’s playing roster. Gilmore was a varsity team member at Edina High School since eighth grade, a three-time all-conference player, and a rare four-time state tournament qualifier. She captured the 2010 Section 6 AAA individual title and finished runner-up in 2011 and fifth in June. She helped the Hornets to a third-place team state-tournament finish in 2009 and a runner-up showing in 2010. Her top finish at state came in 2010, when she ended ninth. Daly, meanwhile, was a standout for St. Louis Park, qualifying for the second day of the section tournament her senior year.
“Grace and Mara have blended into the team very well, and I think they’ll both really help us this year,” Sieger said. “Grace is a bit more experienced and has played in the big moments in high school, and she has a sublime short game, which translates to good scores no matter the level. Mara has loads of potential and a great disposition, which will serve her well.”
Carleton is one of three MIAC teams in the preseason poll, as defending conference champion St. Olaf is ranked 11th and Gustavus Adolphus is eighth. The Oles return four starters off last year’s team that tied for ninth at the NCAA Championships, while Gustauvus Adolphus returns two starters off last year’s team that finished 11th at the national tournament.
The Knights open the 2012-13 campaign at the Doug Georgianni Memorial, hosted by UW-Eau Claire, Sept. 1-2. Besides the sixth-ranked BluGolds, the field includes fifth-ranked Washington University (Mo.), Gustavus, 10th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan, and St. Olaf.