Defending NCAA Women’s Champion Stanford and Rose Zhang, the top-ranked women’s amateur in the world, have picked up right where they left off last season.
The top-ranked Cardinal won three of their first four events during the Fall Season, capturing the Carmel Cup, the Big Match against arch-rival California, and the Stanford Intercollegiate Presented by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, while finishing third in the match-play Stephens Cup.
“You know, everyone says that (we’re the team the beat),” said Stanford Coach Anne Walker, the 2022 NCAA Coach of the Year. “That’s not what we see internally. And I think when you get caught up in the noise and what everyone says around you, that’s typically when things don’t shake out.
“And so, we work really hard (to avoid that). We’re fortunate that we’re in that position that they can say that about us and these young women have earned that right, but at the same time, we work really hard at just staying focused on what we’re doing every day and not listening to the outside noise.”
Zhang, a sophomore from Irvine who won the 2022 NCAA Women’s Individual Championship and the 2020 U.S. U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, has claimed individual titles in the Carmel Cup and the Stanford Intercollegiate during the Fall Season to give her eight victories in her college career.
“It’s been insane, said Zhang, who claimed the 2022 Annika Award as the best U.S. amateur addition to earning the McCormack Medal as the best women’s amateur in the world each of the last three years. “I’ve just been trying to keep myself as rested and as composed as possible, but there’s obviously a lot of media and stuff going on.
“I’ve just been taking it one day at a time. I’ve been enjoying every single moment, no matter how bad or how rough things were out there. I’m just very proud to be here. … The grind doesn’t stop.”
Stanford also has 13th-ranked Sadie Englemann, No. 20 Megha Ganne and No. 37 Rachel Heck, who was the 2021 NCAA Individual Champion, in the top 50 of the individual rankings.
San Jose State is ranked 11th in the nation, led by Kajsa Arwefjall at No. 40 and Anotnia Malate at No. 47; with USC at No. 13 behind 13th-ranked Amari Avery, No. 70 Cindy Cou and No. 72 Brianna Navarrosa; UCLA at No. 30 led by No. 12 Zoe Campos and No. 83 Ty Akabane; 40th-ranked Pepperdine, which is topped by No. 87 Lion Higo, and No. 48 California, which features No. 179 Jieming Yang.