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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Aggies soaring to new highs

The Aggies needed a special weekend at the NCAA Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Finals.

They had that special weekend.

Led by sophomore Demi Runas who finished tied for fifth overall, the Aggies finished third at the NCAA West Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Finals for the second time in the past four years.

Runas, senior Alice Kim and sophomore Amy Simanton carried the Aggies all weekend as the trio all finished in the top 11 overall.

“The team was confident, poised, mature and disciplined in its game plan,” said coach Anne Walker. “The depth of the team was very clear with multiple people contributing. I’m thrilled for Alice and Chelsea [Stelzmiller] to be returning to the national championship. They truly deserve it.”

Kim was especially crucial to the Aggies’ success. The Walnut, Calif. native shot a tournament best 6-under 66 during Saturday’s final round to guarantee UC Davis a spot at the NCAA Championships in Bryan, Texas on May 18 to 21.

Top ranked USC won the event by 10 shots over No. 13 Tennessee. The No. 22 ranked UC Davis Aggies finished tied for third with Virginia, something Walker found very impressive.

“We once again identified ourselves as one of the nation’s best teams by finishing in tie with sixth-ranked Virginia,” Walker said.

Finishing third is especially noteworthy given the fact that the Aggies were seeded eighth for the event.

Walker said it would have to be a total team effort for UC Davis to succeed – and it was a total team effort she got.

Kim’s final round capped a strong turnaround for her after she opened the regional with an 80. She battled back to fire a 72 on Friday and ended in a seventh-place tie at 2-over 218 after her 66 on Saturday.

Runas, this season’s Big West Conference Player of the Year, gave UC Davis two players in the top 10 after tying for fifth at 1-over 217 and playing solidly throughout the tournament.

Simanton had a solid showing at the event to finish 11th overall. Steltzmiller and freshman Jessica Chulya had strong performances as well.

JASON ALPERT can be reached as sports@theaggie.org.


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