The West Was the Best

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College Central presented by PINGWhen the last putt fell at The Homestead and all the awards had been handed out, it was time to reflect back on what had transpired over the past nine months. The year started out quickly with two teams jumping to the forefront as the ones to watch. The women of Duke set records left and right on their way to winning the first seven events in which they played. Capturing 10 of 11 tournaments heading to Nationals, all eyes were on the Blue Devils to see if they could cap off a year to remember. But hold the phone, someone forgot to tell UCLA about the impending coronation. The Lady Bruins had a spring every bit as good as Dukes, and had no intention of letting the Dukies roll on to the National title.
 
Carrie Forsyths team outplayed Duke and everyone else in Opelika, Ala., and took home the programs second National Championship. I was on the Blue Devil bandwagon from Day 1, and with good reason. Their numbers were as good as any who had played the college game. But a pattern was developing with the Bruins' victory: dont overlook the teams west of the Mississippi, they were legit.
 
The mens side saw the Florida Gators take home seven team titles during the regular season, and perhaps field the most explosive group in all the land. But a funny thing happened on the way to the post-season for Buddy Alexanders squad, they stopped winning. That being said, the Gators were still one of the pre-tournament favorites at the Cascades course. Defending champs Clemson and UCLA were a couple of others not to overlook. While the Gators and Tigers didnt mount a serious charge, the Bruins were looking to duplicate the feat of their better half.
 
Everything pointed to a clean sweep for the folks from L.A., but it was another team from California who stole the show. The Golden Bears of Cal-Berkeley authored one of the greatest final rounds in recent memory, and captured the programs first National Title. This from a group who was competing as a club sport just 25 years ago. Receiving no financial support from their university, Steve Desimones upstart bunch showed the parity the college game is lucky to have.
 
While the balance of power shifts from year to year, it does seem as though those in the east seem to garner most of the headlines. Arizona States head coach Randy Lein summed it up best earlier this season, saying he has 'never seen a Pac-10 conference with this much depth and talent in a very long time. I echo those sentiments and will go one further by stating the women of the west displayed the same prowess which we have not seen in many years.
 
My hat's off to UCLA and Cal-Berkeley for their impressive play during the most critical event of the year. As always it has been an absolute pleasure to watch these young men and women chase their dreams and that little white ball. The great part of it all: the countdown begins for the impending season which will kick off in September.
 
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