2004: College - Janangelo, Freitag honored
Duke sophomore Liz Janangelo won three of her first four events and continued the momentum throughout the season. Vanderbilt won three of its last six events and closed on a successful note with a victory at the NCAA Central Regional and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship, the Commodores’ best NCAA performance.
Janangelo and Vanderbilt coach Martha Freitag have been named Golfweek’s College Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. Janangelo occupied the top spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings for most of the season and remained there after the NCAA Championship. Vanderbilt steadily climbed the rankings and finished No. 4 behind Duke, UCLA and California.
Janangelo’s biggest asset for the top-ranked Blue Devils was consistency. After a third-place tie at the NCAA Fall Preview, she posted three consecutive victories to close the fall semester. In the spring, Janangelo won the Bryan National Collegiate, was runner-up at the Lady Gator Invitational and tied for third at the NCAA East Regional. Her tie for 16th at the NCAA Championship was her worst performance of the season – no other finish was worse than fourth. Only 24 players finished better than Janangelo in 10 events, and her scoring average was 71.1, best in the nation by a half-shot. (UCLA junior Charlotte Mayorkas was second at 71.6.)
“I set my goals high and I’m happy that I accomplished most of them,” Janangelo said. “I worked hard, stayed focused and confident and had a lot of help from my teammates. They pushed me to work harder.”
It was a topsy-turvy year for Freitag and the Commodores. Junior Joni Gossett left the team for unspecified personal reasons before the season
started, and Vanderbilt was left with only five players on its roster. But the Commodores – seniors Sarah Jacobs and Courtney Wood, sophomore May Wood and freshmen Chris Brady and Kristen Svicarovich – quickly unified and won their third tournament of the season, the Kentucky Wildcat Invitational. In the spring, Vanderbilt won four of its seven events, including the SEC Championship and NCAA Central.
A week before the NCAA Championship, May Wood, the Commodores’ top-ranked player, was declared academically ineligible. So Vanderbilt made the trip to Opelika, Ala., with four players – two seniors, two freshmen – and finished fifth, besting its previous top NCAA performance of 14th in 2003.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Freitag said. “To watch this group grow and develop has been really fun. It’s been, by far, the most enjoyable year I’ve had here.
“They continued to believe in each other and in me, and because of that we accomplished many things. I feel a great sense of pride in that.”