Vandal Women Take WAC Championship

Led by junior standout RENEE SKIDMORE (the '05 WAC Golfer of the Year and '04 Big West Champion) and her 2nd place tournament finish today, the Vandal women won their first WAC Golf Championship. Four of Idaho's five golfers finished in the Top 10 as the Vandals stormed back from a 6th place opening round to improve to 1st place on Day Two, then battled this afternoon to claim the Championship.

Congratulations to the University of Idaho women's golf team on winning their first Western Athletic Conference Championship this afternoon at the University Golf Course at New Mexico State University.

Congratulations also to Idaho head coach Brad Rickel for being named the Western Athletic Conference Women's Golf Coach of the Year. He's had several outstanding women's teams over the years at Idaho, and this may be his best.

The Vandal women, with just one senior and two true freshmen on the team, went into this tournament ranked 17th in the western region and 52nd nationally. They expected to do well this week, and they came away with the WAC Championship.

They also landed two players on the All-WAC Team (both Rene Skidmore and junior Kelly Nakashima earned 2nd Team All-WAC honors).

The team's impressive accomplishments this season include:

- In 9 tournaments, they finished out of the top eight only once.
- Second at Colorado's prestigious Heather Farr Invitational
- Third at the UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational
- Fourth at the Oregon Duck Invitational
- Fifth at the San Jose Spartan Invitational
- Tied for eight at the BYU Dixie Classic

Coach Rickel with Renee Skidmore at the '04 West Regionals, was named the 2007 WAC Coach of the Year.
Idaho's golf teams under eight-year Vandal head coach Brad Rickel have been impressive, much like their on-campus 18-hole, 6,637-yard, par-72 University of Idaho Golf Course where they practice and host various tournaments. Since taking over the men's and women's programs in 1999, both squads have won Big West Championships and they've won numerous tournaments over the year. In his first year at Idaho, he led a lowly-regarded men's team to the Big West Conference Championship and came within one stroke of advancing to the NCAA National Finals. In 2004 he helped then-true freshman Renee Skidmore advance to the West Regionals.

And now he has built a powerful, and young, women's team. "The reason we won is we have a complete team. Five strong," Rickel said. "Everybody contributed."

Congratulations once again to the women on this year's squad. Below is a summary of each of the five tournament competitors, listed in their order of finish at the WAC Championships. Below that is a list of the 2007 All-WAC teams.

Renee Skidmore, Junior
Second (tied), WAC Championships
Everett, WA (Cascade High School)

Renee's career at Idaho has been stunning...and that is putting it mildly. This season she was Idaho's top finisher in two tournaments in the fall and went into the WAC Championships with a 76.29 average. This week she shot an 8-over par three day total of 224 to finish second overall (tied with Fresno State's Laura Luethke). Last season she also finished second at the WAC Championships, and was named WAC Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-WAC honors. In 2004 as a true freshman she was the Big West Conference Champion and an NCAA Regional qualifier. That year she was ranked fourth in NCAA scoring average for freshmen and 34th overall, and set the UI lowest stroke average record (74.41). Her amateur career includes (among many other honors) being named by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association as the Women's Golfer of the Year in 2004, and advancing to the match-play phase of the 2005 U.S. Amateur (reached round of 64). She won the 2005 Washington State Golf Association Women's State Amateur, and was the 2004 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Women's Amateur Champion.

Kelly Nakashima, Junior
Eighth, WAC Championships
Wailuku, Hawaii (Baldwin High School)

Along with Renee, Kelly has been a leader for the Vandals throughout the season. This year she led the team with a victory in the Inland Empire Intercollegiate (hosted by Idaho) and a runner-up finish (after a playoff for first) at the UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational. At that tournament she had a closing round 65 to tie a UI record, and she also had a 54-hole total of 205 to set a new UI tournament record. She had six top-25 finishes and led the Vandals going into the WAC Championships with a stroke average of 75.56. At the WAC Championships this week she was tied for fifth going into the final day of competition, and finished with an impressive 12-over par 228 to take sole possession of eighth place overall. The effort earned her 2nd Team All-WAC honors for the 2007 season.

Cassie Castleman, Senior
Ninth (tied), WAC Championships
Portland, OR (Lincoln High School)

An outstanding way to end an impressive collegiate career, Cassie finished tied for ninth at the WAC Championships, finishing with a 13-over par three day total of 229, one stroke behind teammate Kelly Nakashima and tied with Idaho freshman Beth Stonecypher. Cassie's career got off to an impressive start in 2003, when she earned First-Team All-Big West Conference honors as a freshman and won the Heather Farr Tournament after shooting a career, course, school and tournament record 65 in the second round. She followed that up with another All Big West Conference performance as a sophomore. As a junior last year finished tied for 29th in her first WAC Tournament appearance, and this year vaulted all the way up to ninth overall.

Beth Stonecypher, True Freshman
Ninth (tied), WAC Championships
Yelm, WA (Yelm High School)

Not a bad way to start her collegiate career as a true freshman. For the tournament Beth finished with a 13-over par three day total of 229 to claim a share of ninth place overall with teammate Cassie Castleman. For the season, Beth averaged 77.78 (fourth on the team), and shot a hot 76.33 average at the WAC Championships. She finished the regular season with two Top-10 and five Top-25 finishes on the season. She also shot a 231 at the Oregon Duck Invitational to earn a sixth place finish. As a high school senior, she finished 18th at the Junior Worlds and 8th at the Junior America's Cup.

Amanda Jacobs, True Freshman
21st (tied), WAC Championships
Everett, WA (Cascade High School)

As with teammate and classmate Beth Stonecypher, Amanda launched her University of Idaho playing career in impressive fashion, finishing tied for 21st overall as a true freshman at this week's WAC Golf Championships. She finished with a 19-over par 235 for the tournament, which included a solid opening day round of 76. This season she was the Vandals' top finisher at San Jose State Invitational with a 225 to tie for 15th, and followed that up with a tie for eighth at Oregon Duck Invitational. She also had an impressive high school career, including playing in the U.S. Junior Amateur as a senior, competed in the championship flight of the Junior PNGA, played on the North Pacific Junior Ladies Team, and was a member of Team Oregon in the Junior America's Cup competition.

2007 ALL-WAC Teams

First- Team All-WAC
Laura Luethke, Jr., Fresno State
Jennifer Shipley, So., Fresno State
Dale Gammie, Sr., Hawai'i
Lehua Wise, Sr., New Mexico State
Erica Moston, So., San Jose State

Second-Team All-WAC
Kelly Nakashima, Jr., Idaho
Renee Skidmore, Jr., Idaho
Melanie De Leon, So., Nevada
Inah Park, Sr., New Mexico State
Sirapa Kasemsamran, So., San Jose State

Player of the Year: Dale Gammie, Sr., Hawai'i
Freshman of the Year: Cristina Corpus, San Jose State
Coach of the Year: Brad Rickel, Idaho

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