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Rocky golfers to compete for national berths

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The men's and women's golf teams from Rocky Mountain College will be shooting for berths to nationals Monday and Tuesday during the Frontier Conference postseason tournament at Larchmont Golf Course in Missoula.

Eighteen-hole quarterfinal and semifinal matches will take place on Monday, with the 36-hole championship shootouts set for Tuesday.

Seven men's and women's teams will be competing, with the team champions receiving automatic berths to nationals.

Rocky's top-seeded men, ranked No. 21 nationally, ruled over the regular-season standings and received a bye into the semifinals.

The Battlin' Bear women, seeded third, will open quarterfinal play Monday morning against No. 6 Montana Tech.

The men and women from Rocky last appeared at nationals in 2010.

Rocky's men held a slim lead over Lewis-Clark State going into the final conference tournament in Lewiston, Idaho, earlier this month and managed to fight off the Warriors to secure the top seed.

"I like our chances for the simple fact that we're the conference champions," Rocky coach Randy Northrop said of getting his Bears to nationals. "Obviously, we played the best over those three (league) tournaments. I just feel like we're playing much better now than we did in the fall."

Rocky's Connor Rakowski ranks second in the Frontier with his 72.2 scoring average -- and there are four Bears in the top 10.

"We're all feeling really good, and confidence helps out a lot in golf," Rocky's Casey Faught said.

Rakowski and Faught were on Rocky's 2010 national-tournament team.

Utah's Westminster College won the women's regular-season crown and will also receive a bye into the semifinals. The Griffins are ranked 17th nationally.

"At our last meeting with the girls we kind of looked at a number that we need to shoot, and then broke it down by player," Northrop said. "I think if our girls play well they can win. Can we win by not playing well? No."

Katy Peterson of Rocky is eighth in scoring average at 79.6, one of two Bears in the top 10.

"I definitely think we're all very capable of shooting the scores we need to shoot to make it to the national tournament," Peterson said. "We all hit the ball well. We've got to eliminate those big holes, doubles and triples. We all know what we need to do." 

Rocky's men's team at the Frontier tourney will include Rakowski, Faught, Daniel Thompsett, Cody Scheireman and Tom Meyer. The women's squad will consist of Rachel Hosterman, Peterson, Brittani Jones, Chere Anderson and Allie Sauvageau.

The men's national tournament is scheduled May 22-25 at Creekside Country Club in Salem Ore., while the women will gather May 15-18 at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn.

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