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    Northwestern Begins NCAA Regional Play Thursday

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM The NCAA Central Regional begins Thursday in Normal, Ill.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    The NCAA Central Regional begins Thursday in Normal, Ill.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    May 5, 2004

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- With three freshmen in its starting lineup, Northwestern's 43rd-ranked women's golf team heads two hours south to Normal, Ill. for the NCAA Central Regional Championships, which begin Thursday, May 6 at Illinois State's University Golf Course (par 71, 6,500 yards). The tournament runs through Saturday, with one round being conducted each day.

    The top eight teams and the top two at-large individuals will advance to the NCAA National Championships, scheduled for May 18-21 in Opelika, Ala.

    The Wildcats, seeded 17th in the 21-team tournament, tee off between 12:30 and 1:10 p.m. on Thursday. Northwestern's lineup includes its three freshmen -- Alice Kim (Los Angeles, Calif./Brentwood), Kelly Robb (Concord, Mass./Middlesex School) and Heather Scholten (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) -- along with juniors Mary Ellen Grzebien (Saunderstown, R.I./Narragansett) and Ina Kim (Encino, Calif./Harvard-Westlake).

    Northwestern's five players will be in threesomes with student-athletes from Purdue and Baylor.

    "This is going to be a positive experience for our team," said head coach Chris Regenberg. "The pressure for this young group was to earn a berth to the regional. With some of that pressure lifted, perhaps that will help us. We'll see."

    The Wildcats face a stiff test to earn just the program's second trip to nationals. Third-ranked and top-seed Vanderbilt is participating in this Regional, along with defending national champion USC, two-time former NCAA champ Arizona, fourth-ranked New Mexico and 15th-ranked Oklahoma. Also participating in the Regional from the Big Ten are Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue.

    Additional information for the NCAA Central Regional can be found at Illinois State Redbirds or NCAA Championships. Live stats are available at NCAA Central Regional Live Scoring.