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May 10, 2006

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The Basics
The No. 23 South Carolina women’s golf team will compete as the eighth seed at the 2006 NCAA Women’s Golf East Regional Championship played May 11-13 at Bryan Park Golf Course in Browns Summit, N.C. The Gamecocks earned their eighth consecutive NCAA Regional bid and are making their 11th trip to the postseason in 12 years under head coach Kristi Coggins. The NCAA Regional Championships are divided into three regions (East, Central and West) with 21 teams plus the three top individuals who play for schools that did not qualify as a team competing in each region. The top eight teams at each of the three regionals plus the top two individuals advance to the NCAA Championships played May 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio. The Gamecocks will play a familiar course at the East Regional, as Carolina competed at the Bryan National Collegiate March 31-April 2, finishing seventh in an 18-team field comprised of 16 teams that earned NCAA Regional berths this year. Of the seven teams seeded ahead of Carolina in this year’s East Regional, the Gamecocks have gone head-to-head against six in various tournaments this spring, finishing ahead of five of the teams at least once. Carolina is one of eight ranked teams competing in the East Regional and joins six other Southeastern Conference schools competing in the East. All tolled, 10 SEC schools earned NCAA Regional berths this year.

How To Get Results
Results will be available at the end of each day on the official web site of South Carolina athletics,, with live scoring kept throughout the tournament on

NCAA East Regional Championship Field
1. Arizona State, 2. Auburn, 3. Tennessee, 4. Wake Forest, 5. California, 6. Vanderbilt, 7. Virginia, 8. South Carolina, 9. LSU, 10. Florida State, 11. Alabama, 12. NC State, 13. Augusta State, 14. Maryland, 15. Furman, 16. North Carolina, 17. Mississippi State, 18. Campbell, 19. College of Charleston, 20. East Carolina, 21. Yale

Top Players Competing At The East Regional
Rank* Player, School
No. 3 Maria Martinez, Auburn
No. 7 Azahara Munoz, Arizona State
No. 14 Jenny Suh, Alabama
No. 16 Jacqui Concolino, Vanderbilt
No. 18 Leah Wigger, Virginia
No. 20 Jennifer Osborn, Arizona State
No. 21 Caroline Westrup, Florida State
No. 24 Marci Turner, Tennessee
No. 27 Nicole Hage, Auburn
No. 29 Alissa Kuczka, Arizona State
No. 31 Sofie Andersson, California
No. 34 Chris Brady, Vanderbilt
No. 36 Amanda Mathis, Mississippi State
No. 37 Amanda Goins, Wake Forest
No. 41 Tiffany Tavee, Arizona State
No. 43 Lene Krog, East Carolina
No. 45 Sophia Sheridan, Californiav No. 47 Angie Hill, College of Charleston
No. 50 Nanette Hill, Wake Forest

*team and player rankings according to

Gamecocks Competing At The East Regional
Whitney Simons (Sophomore; 75.74 stroke average)
Erica Battle (Senior; 76.22 stroke average)
Jenna Pearson (Junior; 76.22 stroke average)
Blythe Worley (Sophomore; 77.33 stroke average)
Laura Raffo (Sophomore; 78.43 stroke average)

Simons Recognized As SEC’s Best
South Carolina women’s golf standout Whitney Simons was recognized as the 2006 Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A sophomore from Aiken, S.C. (Aiken HS), Simons has appeared on South Carolina’s President’s List (perfect 4.0 grade-point average) every semester she has been enrolled in school. Simons triple majors in international business, marketing and finance and is a Spanish minor. Making her GPA more impressive is the fact that the international business school at South Carolina is the top-ranked school in the nation. Simons is the first Gamecock ever to earn SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. On the course, Simons is ranked as a top-100 player nationally. She is currently ranked 92nd in the nation in the latest Golfweek rankings and her 75.74 stroke average heading into the NCAA Regionals gives her the lowest stroke average of any player on the South Carolina roster. Simons tied for 16th at the 2006 SEC Championship and has posted two top-10 finishes and five top-20 finishes in 2005-06, highlighted by a team-best sixth-place finish at the Chrysler Challenge, where her 75-71-79=225 led the Gamecocks to the tournament championship.

Battle Earns Highest USC Honor
Senior Erica Battle earned the highest honor a South Carolina student-athlete can achieve from the athletic department when she was presented with the President’s Award at USC’s All-Sports Banquet on April 24. The President’s Award is awarded to an individual who displays extraordinary talents in the areas of athletics, scholarship, leadership and service. Battle has exemplified all areas very strongly throughout her career. She sports a career-best 76.22 stroke average heading into the NCAA Regional Championship and has posted three top-20 finishes this year. The Irmo, S.C. native will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a double major in marketing and management in the Moore School of Business, with a minor in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management. Battle was also named to the Dean’s List or President’s List every semester of her college career. Her community service efforts include a long list of activities. Named to the SEC Good Works Team, she volunteers for the Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House, among others. Her most notable community service effort is probably the “Golfing for God Ministry”, a youth organization she founded in the Columbia area while in college. A weekly volunteer to a local youth mentoring program, Battle is a member of CHOICES TEAM (Student-Athletes for Healthy Choices Concerning Alcohol) and of Fellowship Christian Athletes.

Last Time Out – SEC Championship
The South Carolina women’s golf team finished eighth at the 2006 SEC Championship played in Nashville, Tenn., with a 310-293-300=903 (+39), 28 strokes behind tournament winner Auburn. Jenna Pearson starred for the Gamecocks on Sunday, shooting an even-par 72, which enabled her to finish in a tie for seventh place on the final individual leader board with a 75-74-72=221 (+5), 10 strokes behind individual medalist Maria Martinez from Auburn. Pearson’s performance marked the lowest 54-hole score of any Gamecock player this Spring and was the third-lowest 54-hole total of her career. In finishing seventh, Pearson became the 10th Carolina player ever to finish in the top 10 at the SEC Championship and the first since Kristy McPherson finished third in 2003. Pearson finished ahead of five of the nation’s top 28 players who competed in the field. Sophomore Whitney Simons was also very productive for South Carolina throughout the SEC Championship, finishing in a tie for 16th with a 75-73-75=223 (+7). Though still an underclassman, Simons has demonstrated a knack for success when the stakes are high, as she finished 12th at last year’s SEC Championship and knocked in a hole-in-one at last year’s NCAA East Regional. Senior Erica Battle finished in a tie for 35th with a 79-73-78=230 (+14). She overcame a rocky start to shoot par on eight of her last nine holes, with the one exception a double-bogey on the course’s par-five fourth hole. Sophomore Blythe Worley finished in a tie for 41st with an 84-73-75=232 (+16), with sophomore Laura Raffo tying for 53rd with an 81-81-78=240 (+24).

Carolina At The 2005 NCAA East Regional Championship
The Gamecocks narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championship last year, as 12th-seeded Carolina finished ninth at the NCAA East Regional, with only the top eight teams advancing. A closer look:

2005 NCAA East Regional Championship (May 6-7, 2005)
University of Florida Golf Course (Gainesville, Fla.)
293-307-303=903 (9th place out of 21 teams)

Jenna Pearson 70-77-72=219 14th
Whitney Simons 73-75-76=224 T28th
Erica Battle 72-78-79=229 T51st
Caroline Rominger 81-77-77=235 T77th
Blythe Worley 78-81-78=237 T81st