EAU CLAIRE, Wis.--Taylor Wells (Fy./Rochester, Minn./Century), a day after breaking the school 18-hole scoring mark with a two-over par 74, added the 36-hole mark to her resumé, firing a final-day 10-over par 83 in extremely difficult conditions to finish solo second against an elite field at the Georgianni Memorial Invitational.
Wells ended at 12-over par 157, topping the previous school 36-hole record by one shot. She finished ahead of four All-Americans in her collegiate debut, finishing only one shot behind medalist Mary Welch of UW-Stevens Point.
"I was so impressed with Taylor this weekend," Carleton head coach Eric Sieger said. "Today her 83 was almost more impressive because of the competition she faced. She played with two players who have been to nationals the last couple of years and finished as the low player in her group. I know she felt like she left a couple of shots out there, but it was a pretty salty performance for a freshman to come out and post a finish like that in one of the best Division III tournaments of the year."
Wells' performance helped the youthful Knights to an impressive T4th finish against a field with six nationally-ranked teams. Although Carleton struggled in Sunday's second round to the tune of a 355, it tied No. 4 Illinois Wesleyan University for fourth at 681, the seventh-best 36-hole round in school history. Saturday's first round of 326 was one away from the 18-hole school record.
Gina Kabasakalis (Fy./Aladema, Calif./College Prep) made a late push to get inside the top 25, ending with an 87 for a two-day total of 170. Traci Johnson (Sr./Lakeville, Minn./North) ended at 175, followed by Kelsey Moede (Fy./Lake Oswego, Ore.) at 179 and Sophia Roman (Fy./Portland, Ore./Catlin Gable) at 193.
"Today was among the toughest conditions we've ever faced," Sieger said. "The course was set up at 6,000 yards and the wind was howling, and being in that final pairing probably hurt us a bit in that the wind shifted over the final two hours, making the last six holes tougher for those final four teams than it was for some of the teams ahead of us." The final round took more than six hours to play, and it perhaps showed as the four scoring players for Carleton played the par-3 17th in a combined 8-over par.
No. 3 Gustavus Adolphus College held off a hard-charging No. 20 St. Olaf College for the team title, posting a 653 to the Oles' 655. Host and No. 6 UW-Eau Claire finished third at was next at 658, followed by Carleton and IWU. Carroll College (Wis.) and No. 18 UW-Whitewater ended up tied for sixth at 683, followed by NAIA Viterbo (Wis.) at 687 and St. Benedict at 689.
"I'm very pleased with the way the weekend played out for us," Sieger said. "I certainly didn't expect Taylor to shoot the scores she did and finish second, but I knew she had the talent to be very competitive right away. We'll need a little more consistency moving forward to hang with the top teams, but starting four freshmen and posting a finish like that is something we can build on moving forward this fall."