Mendoza Wins C-USA Title, Named League Player of the Year

UTEP senior Gerina Mendoza became only the second player in UTEP golf history to win a conference individual title on Wednesday. Mendoza shot a nine-under-par 207 (68-68-71) to capture medalist honors at the 2007 Conference USA Championship in Birmingham, Ala.

Mendoza is UTEP's first conference individual champion in women's golf. Paul Stankowski finished first at the Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1990.

A native of Roswell, N.M., Mendoza was also named Conference USA Player of the Year and first team All-Conference USA on Wednesday. She has a league-leading 72.8 stroke average in 10 tournaments this season. Her 207 at the C-USA Championship tied her career-low score. She has finished first at four tournaments this season, including the ORU Shootout (Tulsa, Okla.), Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational (Honolulu, Hawaii/lost in a playoff) and the Arkansas-Little Rock Classic (Hot Springs, Ark.).

UTEP senior Jullianne Kim was chosen second team All-Conference USA by league coaches. Kim has a 75.8 stroke average in 2006-07.

Other first team All-Conference USA selections were Memphis' Stacey Tate and SMU's Lacey Jones, Jennifer Ackerson and Kate Ackerson. Second team honorees were Tulsa's Michaela Cavener and Leisl Hasbrouck, East Carolina's Lene Krog and UCF's Sara Hurwich.

UTEP tied for third place at the Conference USA Championship, shooting 922 as a team (308-302-312). It is UTEP's best conference showing under 13th-year head coach Jere Pelletier. The Miners were fourth at the WAC Championship in 1996 and 2002.

Memphis won the tournament (310-297-305-912). East Carolina was second (314-302-298-914), UCF (309-307-306-922) and SMU (308-309-305-922) tied for third, Tulsa sixth (315-310-310-935), Marshall seventh (325-323-318-966), Southern Miss eighth (328-321-318-967) and UAB ninth (326-329-329-984).

UTEP's Kim tied for eighth place (81-73-74-228), Deborah Martinez tied for 32nd place (76-85-86-247), Valerie De La Cruz tied for 36th place (87-78-83-248) and Daniela Ito tied for 39th place (83-83-84-250).

Mendoza won the tournament by five strokes, with Memphis' Tate taking second (73-71-68-212).

Mendoza will learn on Monday if she has qualified for the NCAA Central Regional Championship May 10-12 in Ann Arbor, Mich. She could become only the second women's golfer in UTEP history to reach NCAA Regionals, joining Kristen MacLaren who received bids in 1998 and 2000.



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