Thompson solid for Cougars in NAIA golf tourney
She missed the final-round cut by just a single stroke, but St. Xavier University freshman Taylor Thompson still beat out 102 golfers at last Tuesday’s NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
Thompson shot rounds of 83, 76 and 79 during her three days at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club, a par-72, 5,962-yard course. Her 238 total was good for 42nd place. The top 40 golfers advanced into the fourth round.
“Although Taylor missed the cut, she played a great tournament [by] coming back very strong after a shaky opening round,” Cougars coach Mike Mandakas said. “She handled herself very well as a freshman playing alongside the best collegiate golfers in the country. I know Taylor will take a lot from this experience and get herself prepared for a return trip next year.”
Thompson had a stellar debut season at SXU, registering numerous top-10 tourney finishes and winning the individual title at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Championship. That victory secured for her an automatic bid to the NAIA event and helped Thompson get named the conference’s Women’s Player of the Year.
Senior Ashley Shares turned in a time of 3 hours, 10 minutes, 15.10 seconds to place third overall in the marathon on Saturday, the final day of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The third-place finish, which earned Shares All-America designation, equaled Cougars’ best individual showing in any national event. Former standout Rachael Dean took third in the 3,000-meter run at the 2011 NAIA indoor meet.
“Ashley ran a very smart race in hot conditions and moved up steadily throughout the course,” SXU coach Lisa Ebel said. “I’m so proud of her and excited that she gets the All-American honor that she deserves to finish out her impressive career. She is the most dedicated and hardest-working athlete I have ever coached.”
Joining Shares in Alabama were Jordan Wallace, who competed in the 3,000-steeplechase, and the 3,200-relay quartet of senior Leslie Rosario, freshman Nicole Watkins, sophomore Lexi McDermid and senior Anna Galvez.
Wallace, who was making her third straight appearance in the NAIA meet, wound up 26th in her event in 11:41.97, while the relay unit was 24th in 9:47.91.
“Jordan is the best steeplechase runner our program has ever had and I’m thrilled she got to end her collegiate career at nationals,” Ebel said. “We have had strong relay teams over the years, and a large part of that is because of the efforts of seniors Leslie Rosario and Anna Galvez. They have been repeat national qualifiers in the 4-by-800 and helped our program establish itself as a regular participant in the event.
“Lexi ran in her first national meet this [past] weekend and really had a great sophomore season. Along with freshman Nicole Watkins, we expect big things from this pair in the future.”
Senior pitcher Megan Nonnemacher headlined the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America ® College Division softball team by being chosen as the year’s top student-athlete at that level by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
The Capital One College Division squad is made up of student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions.
Nonnemacher, an elementary education major, boasts a 3.91 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. She became the second SXU athlete to be honored as the Academic All-America Player of the Year during the 2013-14 school year, joining basketball player Brad Karp. Nonnemacher is a member of the Capital One team for the third year in a row.
“I could not envision a better award for Megan to win to culminate her impressive collegiate career because it encompasses the efforts of both her success on the field and in the classroom,” Cougars coach Myra Minuskin said. “She was a large part of our success this season and helped our program establish itself as a national power in the NAIA. Megan will definitely be missed in our program next season, but I am confident that there is plenty more success in her future.”
Nonnemacher went 23-3 as a pitcher in 2014, a record that helped SXU amass a 47-9-1 ledger and top-10 ranking. She threw 25 complete games, had 12 shutouts, struck out 164 batters while walking just 47 and posted a 1.34 earned-run average.