March 28, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - On the football gridiron, the two battle for the "Old Mountain Jug." Cross Country has a similar traveling trophy in little brown jugs signifying the winner of the rivalry. In recent years, the volleyball teams battled for "the Pitcher," a decorated kitchen carafe adorned with purple-and-gold as well as black-and-gold that represented victory in the mountain-rivalry.
In golf, the two mountain rivals of Western Carolina and Appalachian State settle things on the course at the Mimosa Hills Golf and Country Club in Morganton, N.C., in the University Cup. The third-year of the event featuring WCU and ASU is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 with tee times beginning just after 1:30 pm.
Both the Western Carolina's men's and women's golf teams will compete against their counterparts from Appalachian State in match-play with the victor claiming the University Cup and the year's worth of bragging rights it brings with it.
Each individual match will be worth one total point. Matches that are even at the end of 18 holes will be worth half a point to each team. The Catamounts need a total of seven points to bring the Cup back to Cullowhee while the Mountaineers need just 6.5 points for a push and to retain possession.
All told, Thursday is the seventh installment of the University Cup overall with WCU and ASU meeting for the third time on the golf course in the co-ed, head-to-head competition. ASU faced Gardner-Webb from 2007-10 in the University Cup, falling to the Runnin' Bulldogs the first three seasons before claiming the Cup, 6-4, in 2010. The Catamounts won the inaugural rivalry meeting in 2011, 3.5-to-2.5, with the Mountaineers reclaiming the Cup a year ago with a 6-to-1 match-play victory.
Both Catamount sides enter the event after riding a wave of recent success. WCU's women won the rain-shortened Low Country Intercollegiate on Monday with a team score of 328, while Appalachian State was tied for seventh at 341. Catamount sophomore Maria Kjelldorff won the tournament with a round of 78 while freshman Mariah Hopkins was third one-stroke back. ASU's top golfer was Yue Xu in a seven-way tie for 20th which included WCU senior Michelle Bello at 12-over, 84.
Additionally for the Catamount women, WCU won the Mimosa Hills Intercollegiate on the same course last April, finishing ahead of runner-up, Appalachian State, by 16 strokes.
On the men's side, the Catamounts are coming off a sixth-place showing at the Furman Intercollegiate, edging the 44th-ranked team in the country in SoCon-foe, Chattanooga, in the team standings. Sophomore J.T. Poston finished fourth in the tournament for his fifth top-five finish of the year, while senior Steven Smith carded his career-low round of three-under, 69, on day two of competition.
ASU counters with a pair of senior-laden rosters. Both squad lists feature four seniors apiece for ASU compared to a combined four between WCU's men's and women's roster - three on the men's side and just one, Bello, for the women.
Complete results from the 2013 version of the University Cup will be made available following the event on Thursday afternoon.