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George Fox claims NWC tourney title


The Bruins win their sixth tourney of the season to wrap up the league championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament

WOODBURN — George Fox was its usual steady self over the weekend, pulling away for a 30-stroke victory at the Northwest Conference championship tournament Sunday at the Oregon Golf Association Golf Course.by: SETH GORDON - The Bruins win their sixth tourney of the season to wrap up the league championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament

The Bruins recorded rounds of 319 and 318 for a winning total of 637, which gave them the tournament title and wrapped up the program’s fifth consecutive NWC crown and corresponding automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

No. 13 Whitman, which was No. 10 GFU’s nearest competitor in the overall league standings as well, finished second at 667.

“In terms of the team, it was quite a season,” admitted George Fox head coach MaryJo McCloskey. “I knew this young team had talent and great chemistry back in the fall, but I was unsure just how quickly they would come together. I think we surprised a lot of people.

It was the sixth tournament title earned by George Fox this season, although freshman phenom Sydney Maluenda came up just shy of capturing medalist honors for the sixth time, finishing second by two strokes to Michal Schuster of Whitworth.

Maluenda trailed by four strokes after an opening round 77, then matched that score Sunday to make up ground on Schuster, who went 73-79 for a total of 154.

The Bruins placed all five golfers in the top 13, and three of them shot sub-80 rounds Sunday, which featured sporadic heavy rains and even a brief hailstorm amidst intermittent sunshine.

Loreece Magsanide finished third with rounds of 78 and 79 for a total of 157. Hailey Ostrom tied for sixth at 165, Melissa Nugent was eighth (166) and Madison Perry was 13th (169).

Rounding out the top five were Claire Burke of Lewis & Clark in fourth and Katie Zajicek of Whitman, who both finished at 160.

Whitworth University finished third in the tournament at 675, followed by Pacific Lutheran (692), Lewis & Clark at (696) Willamette (698), Linfield (770), Pacific (779) and Puget Sound (875).

In the final conference standings, for which the NWC Fall and Spring Classic each count as one quarter of the total and the NWC championship tournament count as one half, George Fox finished with 31, followed by Whitman (27) Whitworth (23.5), Willamette (18.5), Lewis & Clark and Pacific Lutheran (16 each), Linfield (8), Pacific (4), and Puget Sound (0).

The Bruins will make their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, May 13-16 at the Mission Inn Resort Golf Course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

“I’m excited about returning to the national championship and we hope we can surprise some teams there as well,” McCloskey said. “It’s truly been a remarkable season and it’s great that our journey this season continues.”