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Freshmen Pace Catamounts at Starmount Forest Tournament

Freshman Mariah Hopkins (pictured) matched her classmate, Taylor Allison's, final round of 76 on Tuesday at the Starmount Forest Tournament.

Oct. 2, 2012

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Greensboro, N.C. - Paced by a pair of freshmen, Western Carolina carded a final round 313 on Tuesday to finish 13th overall with a 943 at the UNCG Starmount Forest Tournament at the par-71, 6,265-yard Starmount Forest Country Club. Taylor Allison finished tied for 35th with a three-round score of 228 to lead the Catamounts while classmate Mariah Hopkins was tied for 42nd overall at 230.

Through its first three tournaments in the 2012-13 season, the first-year tandem of Allison and Hopkins has been atop WCU's finishing order. Hopkins paced the Catamounts in the season-opening Golfweek Program Challenge with a top 25 individual finish with Allison sharing individual medalist honors at the Great Smokies Intercollegiate two weeks ago in Waynesville.

Entering her final round tied for 30th, Allison fired a five-over, 76, on Tuesday to slip five spots in the overall final standings, tied with four others for 35th-place. The Elizabeth City, N.C., native worked through her first six holes at one-under after a birdie on her third hole of the day, the par-4 15th. Still at one-under through eight holes, Allison carded back-to-back bogies on the third and fourth holes on the front nine with two additional bogies and one double over her final eight holes to finish at five-over.

Hopkins finished her final 18 holes right where she entered the round. With a birdie and a bogey, the Greensboro, N.C., native was even par through her turn at nine holes. However, she closed with three bogies and a double-bogey on the par-4 fourth - a hole in which she doubled in the first and bogeyed in the second round - to match Allison's five-over 76.

Swedish sophomores Maria Kjelldorff and Sofie Kvarnstrom finished tied for 69th overall, while senior Michelle Bello slipped three spots into a two-way tie for 72nd in the final standings. Kvarnstrom posted her best round of the tournament with an eight-over, 79. Sitting at 10-over par through 11 holes due in part to three double-bogies, Kvarnstrom settled to post two birdies over the final seven holes.

Kjelldorff and Bello both carded seven bogies and two double-bogies in their final 18 holes, respectively.

Playing unattached as an individual, WCU freshman Fatima Gonzalez-Carriles finished 87th overall, posting her best round of the event over the final 18 holes at 87 for a two-day score of 271.

Only tied for the top spot after the opening 18 holes, East Tennessee State was atop the leader board through all 54 holes, claiming the team championship by 24 strokes over runner-up, Maryland. ETSU posted a final round 282 to grow its eight-stroke advantage at the 36-hole mark to finish at 852 while the Terrapins were in second at 876 collectively as a team. East Carolina finished third with a two-day score of 881, while Campbell (888) and James Madison (893) rounded out the top five.

Elon finished ninth overall at 910 while host UNCG was 14th at 950 for fellow Southern Conference members also in the field.

East Carolina's Frida Gustafsson Spang, who led after 36 holes, pulled away on Tuesday to claim tournament individual medalist honors by six strokes over Sian Evans of East Tennessee State, 206-to-212.

Western Carolina returns to action next week at the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate, hosted by East Carolina at the Greenville Country Club, Oct. 8-9. The Catamounts finished 12th at last year's event, paced by Kvarnstrom in a tie for 28th place at 10-over par, 226.