HARRISONBURG, Va. - James Madison University women's golf has signed three players to National Letters of Intent during the Fall signing period, Head Coach Paul Gooden announced today. Joining the Dukes for the 2012-13 academic year will be Alison Eleey (Quincy, Mass./Taft Prep (Conn.)), Kelsey Solan (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) and Karishma Thiagaraj (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield).
Eleey has five top-20 placings in her eight amateur tournaments played this year. In her junior year at Taft, Eleey helped the squad to a 14-2 match play record, as well as two team titles in tournaments while serving as the captain for the team. She led the team to the Independent School Girls Golf Classic title, while earning medalist honors in the event in Canton, Mass. This past summer, she finished fifth at the 2011 Newport National Tournament in Newport News, Va., after finishing third in the tournament the previous year. Eleey was the medalist as a freshman at Notre Dame Academy in the 2009 Mass Bay League Individual Tournament, earning All-League honors, while leading her team to the title. She shot placed third at the MIAA Girls' Individual State Tournament in 2009, earning her MIAA Player of the Year honors from The Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic award.
Solan was named Second Team Star Ledger All-State and Courier Post All-Group 4 and First Team Burlington County Scholastic League (BCSL) All-League and All-County as a junior, playing in the top spot on the boys' golf team. She is ranked third in the 2012 class by Junior Golf Scoreboard, sixth by the New Jersey PGA, third in New Jersey and 287th nationally in golf after qualifying for the 2011 Optimist International Junior Golf. She was the 2011 champion at the Mercer County Future Champions Tour event at Princeton Country Club this past summer, her second straight tour victory. She also finished eighth in the Red Devil Inn Copper Hill Tournament, second among females and 48th overall at the Carl Arena Tournament and second in the South Jersey Girls' Invitational. Currently, she ranks second in the BSCL out of 43 players. Academically, Solan is very solid, as she is currently ranked ninth out of almost 450 students at Rancocas Valley.
Thiagaraj is currently the top-ranked junior golfer in the state of Virginia after posting 10 top-10 and 13 top-20 finishes in her 14 amateur tournaments this year. Last summer, Thiagaraj was selected to play on Virginia's squad for the 13th-annual Virginia Maryland Junior Girls' Team Matches in 2011, playing with current JMU freshman Shabril Brewer, helping lead the team to a 7 ½ -4 ½ victory over the Maryland team. She then played for the Virginia-Maryland team that won the 10th Mid-Atlantic Girls' Challenge over a team from the Carolinas, with Thiagaraj earning a win over Taelor Rubin from Raleigh, N.C., as well as earning both of her possible points in the event. She also won the 2011 Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour event in Cary, N.C., by three shots after ending in a three-way playoff earlier in the season at the PKB's Masters Event. Thiagaraj finished second at the 2011 AJGA Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation in North Carolina, shooting a 1-under 71 in the final round. Thiagaraj was the runner-up at the 2011 Virginia High School League Girls Open Golf Championship after falling on the second playoff hole, as she shot a 36-hole total of even-par 144 (71-73). It was the highest finish ever for a player from Battlefield. In 2010, she earned the title at the Bobby Bowers Memorial Junior Golf Tournament. She was the 2008 Maryland State Golf Association Girls' Junior champion and followed it up with a fourth-place finish in 2009.
"I am excited to sign all three of these players," Gooden said. "They bring a variety of talent to the program and I look for them to compete for playing time immediately. This group is another important step forward for us in the growth and development of our program."
The Dukes will next be on the course, Mon.-Tue., Mar. 5-6, 2012 at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, Fla.