For just the second time in program history, a women’s golfer represented Chapman University at the NCAA National Championships. Freshman Kaila Higgins earned the honor after ranking No. 9 in the nation, travelling to the campus of Michigan State in East Lansing, MI for the tournament.
Kaila helped the Panthers jump into the national rankings in early March, ranking in the top-25 in the nation with two of her teammates. After hitting her stride at the Cal Lutheran Invite in mid-March where she became just the third Panther to finish a round at or below par, she continued to climb the national leaderboard.
The rookie had a strong outing at the second SCIAC meet, finishing the tournament with an impressive 76 (+4). She then carded a 240 (+24) at the SCIAC Championships to take sixth place overall and help the Panthers to a second place finish.
Later that week, holding the No. 9 ranking in Division III, Kaila got the call that she was going to the NCAA Championships as one of six individual golfers. She became the second Chapman women’s golfer to do so after Emily Lewis made the cut in the 2019 season.
Kaila finished day 1 of the 3-day competition 13-over par, followed by a 10-over par score on the second day. She jumped up in the leaderboard on the third and final day, shooting a seven-over 79. She was neck-in-neck with the individual from Christopher Newport on the last few holes, missing the cutoff for the final day of competition by just three strokes.
Kaila earned All-Region honors for her work all season on the course and will return to the links with the rest of the Panthers for the 2021-2022 season.