ANKENY - The trek to the national tournament begins on Friday for the NIACC women's golf team.
The first two rounds of the NJCAA Region XI women's golf tournament are set for Friday and Saturday at Otter Creek Golf Course. Play begins at 11 a.m. on Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The final two rounds of the regional tournament are April 26-27, also at Otter Creek.
The top team and top 10 individuals not on the winning team qualify for the NJCAA Division I national tournament May 13-16 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"I've liked how focused they've been when we do get to play in a tournament and the last week or so in practice," NIACC coach Chris Frenz said. "They know what they need to work on to get better and have been spending extra time on the range or putting greens to get a good feeling going into regionals."
NIACC placed second at the Iowa Central Invitational on Sunday and Monday with a 364-375 - 739. NIACC was led by Fullerton with a 86-95 - 181 and Alert with a 90-91 - 181. Also for the Lady Trojans, Barragy shot a 95-93 - 188 and Luecht shot a 93-96 - 189.
This will be the second season that the women's regional tournament is four rounds. NIACC placed fourth last season with a 361-359-375-353 - 1,448 and Courtney Tusler qualified for nationals by placing eighth with a 88-83-90-85 - 346.
"I do think it helps having done this last year," Frenz said. "They know they need to put together two solid rounds this weekend but if it does goes a little sideways they still know they have 36 holes to get back into it.
"We saw that in the tournament last year. So they have to realize how important each shot is and never give up, which I've never seen that out of this group. They are serious competitors."
The tournament is being held at Otter Creek for the 10th straight season.
"Familiarity is always a good thing," Frenz said. "You need to know where you can miss or what club to hit from various distances.
"If we can stay out of trouble, I like our chances to make some noise on the leaderboard."
Frenz says that defending champion Iowa Western is the favorite in the 72-hole tournament.
"Other than that I believe it's going to be an all out battle to see who gets into the individuals to go to the national tournament," Frenz said.