UHV women’s golf headed to NAIA Nationals

The University of Houston-Victoria women’s golf team is going to the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships May 12 to 15 in Pooler, Ga.

Another step in athletic history was set Thursday when the University of Houston-Victoria women’s golf team earned the school’s first-ever berth to the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships.

The championships will be held at Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Ga. The four-round event will be contest May 12-15.

First and second round pairings for the championships will be announced Friday by 3 p.m. CDT at

The 144-player field consists of 19 automatic qualifying teams, which won their respective conference, Association of Independent Institutions or unaffiliated grouping tournament titles, eight at-large selections, and 10 individual qualifiers. At-large teams were determined using the final regular season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released earlier today.

“This is an exciting time for the UHV golf program right now,” said UHV golf coach Brian Williamson. “These ladies have worked hard and they have earned it.”

Team members include senior Rebecca Benchot, junior Brooke Brasseaux and sophomores Heather Shake, Haley Harris and Shelbi Vincent.

The Jaguars had to wait almost two full days before finding out if they would earn one of the at-large berths to the tournaments after finishing third at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Golf Championships on Tuesday.

It was definitely a tough conference field and four of the seven teams have earned berths to nationals. The University of British Columbia earned the conference’s automatic berth, while California State-San Marcos and Victoria-British Columbia also earned at-large berths to nationals along with UHV.

Williamson is quick to point to consistency as the biggest factor for the Jaguars’ success in a short five-year span.

“This is the second in a row that I have had this group of young ladies entirely intact and that consistency has played a big factor in their taking this next step,” Williamson said. “And, they are all from Texas and that’s a rarity in the NAIA. We have no foreign players.

If you look at the elite in the NAIA there is a lot of consistency and history with their programs and we are still the new kid on the block and we are trying to make our own history and become an elite program.”

The Jaguars won their first four tournaments of the year and never finished worse than third in any of the seven events they participated in.

The Jaguars showed their potential in the very first tournament of the year when they set a new school record in winning the UHV Fall classic with a 5-over par 869 after posting rounds of 294-289-286.

Williamson also feels the success will be another big stepping stone for the program.

“Our program has momentum now and I hope it helps the program take steps to the next level especially through recruiting,” Williamson said.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ashley Walyuchow