MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (4/19/16) – Led by all-tournament selection Aracelly Jimenez Rios, the Arkansas State women's golf team completed play Tuesday at the Sun Belt Conference Championship in fifth place among nine teams with a 54-hole 930 shot at the Raven Golf Club.
The Red Wolves collected their best finish at the league tournament since placing fourth in 2004. Jimenez Rios ended the tourney tied for sixth place and fellow freshman Beth Ann Compton took home ninth, giving A-State two top-10 finishers at the SBC Championship since 2003.
"I'm proud of our freshmen and what they've accomplished in one year – finishing in the top 10 in a conference championship is remarkable," said A-State head coach M.J. Desbiens Shaw.
A-State posted a final-round 308, its best score of the three-day event, to help it climb two places in the final standings after ending yesterday's competition in seventh. The squad turned in a first-round 310 and followed with a 312 for the second 18 holes.
"This course played tough all three days and it was a challenge, but it was a challenge that I thought we met," said Desbiens Shaw. "Everyone took on a leadership role at this tournament and we played as a team. That is so important in golf, to be accountable for yourself and the team, and I feel like they fulfilled that goal."
Jimenez Rios was responsible for the best showing at the Sun Belt tournament by an A-State player since Abi Laker also tied for sixth place in 2013. The First Team All-Sun Belt Conference choice recorded a combined 226, including a 76 for the second round and a 75 for the first and third. In the process, she picked up her fifth top-10 showing of the season.
"Being named first team all-conference as a true freshman is an excellent accomplishment," Desbiens Shaw said. "We had three sophomores and two freshmen in this tournament who all contributed, did some positive things and gained valuable experience, so I think that says a lot about the future of our team."
Compton entered today's final round tied for 18th place, but moved up nine places thanks to a career-tying 71 that was also the best single-round score of the tournament among the Red Wolves. Including a 77 and 79 for the first and second rounds, respectively, she posted a combined 227 to match her third best three-round total this year. Not only did Compton earn her best finish of the season, it marked the eighth time this year she has placed among the top 25 players at a tournament.
Sarah Childers gave A-State three top-25 finishers, placing tied for 23rd with a combined 236 (78-79-79). The sophomore, who tied for 32nd place at last year's conference tournament, recorded her fifth top-25 finish of the season.
Also competing for the Red Wolves, sophomore Emma Miller tied for 32nd place with a 243 (82-78-83). Olivia Loiacano, a sophomore as well, finished tied for 37th place with a 247 (80-80-87).
Arkansas State finished just three strokes behind fourth-place Georgia Southern and within 10 of third-place Little Rock. Texas State claimed the Sun Belt Conference championship title with an 895, while Troy finished runner-up with a 914.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3--TOTAL)
5, Arkansas State (310-312-308—930)
T6, Aracelly Jimenez Rios (75-76-75—226)
9, Beth Ann Compton (77-79-71—227)
T23, Sarah Childers (78-79-79—236)
T32, Emma Miller (82-78-83—243)