Transition Time

While Coloradan Ashley Kozlowski advances to NCAA nationals, several prominent locals see their college careers end at women’s regionals

By Gary Baines – 5/8/2024

The end seems to come suddenly, even though it often is a long time in the making.

Numerous local seniors and fifth-year players, plus a longtime head coach, wrapped up their college golf careers on Wednesday as women’s NCAA regionals concluded around the country. Many represented Colorado-based programs, while others are Coloradans who competed for out-of-state schools.

First, it should be noted that one of the prominent seniors who grew up in Colorado extended her season for one final tournament. Ashley Kozlowski of Littleton joined her Purdue teammates in earning one of the five available team berths from the Las Vegas Regional into the NCAA Division I national championships, set for May 17-22 in Carlsbad, Calif. The Boilermakers finished second out of a dozen teams in Vegas, four strokes behind regional champ Arkansas. Individually, Kowzlowski, winner of the Colorado Junior PGA Championship in 2020, placed 13th out of more than 60 contestants, posting scores of 71-69-78. SCORES

Also continuing her season will be Colorado native and former University of Denver golfer Dawn Shockley, the head coach who led her Oregon State squad to the fifth and final team berth from the Bermuda Run, N.C. Regional. It marks the second straight year the Beavers have advanced to nationals — and just the third time in program history. Shockley, an NCAA regional individual champion in 2009 as a DU player, is in her eighth season as Oregon State’s head coach. SCORES

Meanwhile, the two Colorado women’s teams competing at DI regionals fell a little short of advancing to nationals. 

The University of Denver women, needing a top-5 finish to move on to nationals, placed sixth, four strokes behind fifth-place Pepperdine in the East Lansing, Mich., Regional. The Pioneers, the Summit League champions competing in their 22nd consecutive NCAA Regionals, ended up 3 over par as a team for three rounds. SCORES

The Colorado State women, winner of a program-record three team titles this season, finished 10th in the Las Vegas Regional. The Rams ended up 20 strokes behind the crucial fifth-place spot. SCORES

As for the local players/coach who saw their college careers end on Wednesday:

— With neither of the University of Colorado’s two individuals competing at regionals advancing to the national championships, head coach Anne Kelly’s 27-year run at the helm of the Buffs’ women’s program concluded. 

Kelly announced in October that the 2023-24 season would be her last as head coach of the CU women’s program. Having started at CU in 1997, the Aspen native is the longest-serving female head coach in CU sports history.

Kelly is just the second women’s golf head coach at CU, following Justi Rae Miller (1994-97). Over her years on the job, Kelly led Buffs teams to two NCAA national championship tournaments — they placed 18th in 2012 and 19th in 2018 — and eight NCAA Regionals as a full time, the most recent coming in 2018. Among her players who have gone on to play on the LPGA Tour are Jenny Coleman, Esther Lee and Robyn Choi. 

Madeleine Sheils, currently the associate head coach of the women’s team, will become the head coach following the 2023-24 season.

Sabrina Iqbal led CU with a 24th-place finish on Wednesday in the Cle Elum., Wash., Regional, posting rounds of 77-72-76. Iqbal, who has qualified for the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open, played just her final season of college golf at CU after transferring in from Texas Christian University. SCORES

— Also wrapping up her college career on Wednesday was two-time 5A girls state high school champion Lauren Lehigh of Loveland, a University of New Mexico golfer who placed 20th individually in the Vegas Regional (72-74-75). In her final season at New Mexico, Lehigh established the program’s single-season scoring record (71.67). A quarterfinalist in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Lehigh finished 21st last year in the NCAA national tournament. SCORES

— Kylie Severin of Aurora, a senior at CSU-Pueblo, concluded her career with a 12th-place individual showing at the NCAA Division II West Regional in Stockton, Calif., after sharing the lead through three rounds. Severin went 68-71-79. As a senior, the RMAC Player of the Year recorded two individual victories, two runner-up showings and six top-four finishes. She just missed advancing to nationals — she finished one stroke out of a potential playoff — as an individual and RMAC champ CSU-Pueblo placed sixth in the regional team standings when only the top five schools move on. SCORES

— Also among the prominent local players seeing their college careers come to an end on Wednesday were DU’s Anna Zanusso (seventh place individually in East Lansing, 70-72-70) and CSU’s Andrea Bergsdottir (43rd place in Las Vegas, 73-76-80), a two-time individual winner this season. SCORES

Coach Lindsay Kuhle, who grew up in Colorado and was a longtime coach at DU, saw her Kansas team place sixth at the Cle Elum Regional, 12 strokes behind fifth-place San Jose State, the final team to advance to the NCAA nationals. SCORES

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates