WITTENBERG MEN AND DEPAUW WOMEN SELECTED AS FAVORITES FOR 2012 NCAC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Wittenberg men and DePauw women emerged as favorites in the 2012 North Coast Athletic Conference men's and women's pre-championship golf polls, respectively, based on balloting from league coaches. Allegheny will host the first of two NCAC Golf Championship Series events this weekend (Apr. 21-22) at The Country Club of Meadville. The men and women will play 36 holes over two days, with 18 holes being played on both Saturday and Sunday. Event two is scheduled for April 28-29 at Oberlin Golf Club in Oberlin, Ohio, hosted by Oberlin. The men will play 54 holes (36 on Saturday; 18 on Sunday), while the women will shoot 36 (18 on each day). The top team finisher after all rounds are completed will be crowned the conference champion, while the individual medalist honors will go to the top man and woman after the completion of both championship events. The men's winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships.
2012 NCAC Pre-Championship Golf Coaches' Polls
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)
|1.||Wittenberg (8)||89||1.||DePauw (5)||40|
|2.||Ohio Wesleyan (1)||70||2.||Allegheny (1)||34|
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS
The 2012-12 season marks the second season for women's golf in the North Coast Athletic Conference. DePauw, in its inaugural season in the North Coast, was selected as the pre-championship favorite on the women's side after collecting five of the six first-place votes and 40 points overall based on balloting from six of the seven conference coaches. Allegheny, which captured the first-ever NCAC Women's Golf Championship last season, and Wittenberg tied for second with 34 points each with Allegheny earning the last first-place vote. Denison (22) came in fourth while Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster tied for fifth with 16 points each. Hiram received six points coming in seventh place.
The Tigers will turn to senior Kelly Gaughan (Cincinnati, OH/McAuley) to lead the way this year as she holds the lowest stroke average at 78.67. Gaughan's low round this year is a 72 and she has finished in the top 10 of all nine tournaments she has participated in. Sophomore's Kelsey Smith (Indianapolis, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) and Paige Gooch (Fort Mitchell, KY/Beechwood) hold stroke averages of 79.73 and 79.80, respectively. Smith has a low round of 75 this year, while Gooch's best effort was a 72.
After capturing the inaugural NCAC Women's Golf Championship a year ago, The Gators will be led by junior two-time All-American Liz Blyth (Pittsford, NY/Pittsford-Mendon) who carries an 81.20 stroke average this season, which includes a top finish at the McDaniel Spring Invitational. Sophomore Sarah Vorder Bruegge (Palm Beach Gardens, FL/The Benjamin School), an All-NCAC first-team selection last year, carries an 82.00 stroke average with a low round of 76 and four top-10 finishes this season. Senior Lauren Hammell (McMurray, PA/Peters Township) placed first at the Nazareth Invitational and has an 82.40 stroke average with a low round of 78 this year.
Wittenberg's women's golf team is likely to move back into the top 25 nationally after beating six ranked schools at the Washington University Invitational March 31-April 1. Four players are averaging 86 or better, led by freshman Rachel Steiner (Hamilton, OH/Lakota West), who checks in at 82.60. She is followed closely by freshman Nicole Waers (Canton, OH/Perry), who broke school records for 18-hole and 36-hole scoring at Washington University, with a scoring average of 82.80.
Freshman Amanda Castle (Cincinnati, OH/Ursuline Academy) leads the way for the Big Red with a stroke average of 87.00 and four top-five finishes this season with a low round of 83. Fellow freshman Stacey Adams (Asheville, NC/Carolina Day School) carries an 88.40 stroke average with a low round of 82 and has three top-five finishes. Junior Elizabeth Tristano (Barberton, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) has produced a 97.00 stroke average with a low round of 91.
The Battling Bishops will turn to the duo of freshmen Courtney Tincher (Zanesville, OH/West Muskingum) and Sarah McQuade (Dublin, OH/Coffman) to lead the way in the 2012 NCAC Championships. Tincher holds a stroke average of 88.45, while McQuade carries a 91.08.
The Fighting Scots will be led by sophomore Rainey Sullivan (Bethel Park, PA/Seton-LaSalle) who has a 93.00 scoring average. Junior Janet Zahorsky (Ambridge, PA/Quigley Catholic) is sporting a 94.60 stroke average, while freshman Alyssa Gilbert (Hinckley, OH/Walsh Jesuit) is carrying a 99.40 average.
The Hiram women's team will be led over the next two weekends by senior Kritsinee Khowcharoen (Muang, Phitsanulok, Thailand/Fryeburg Academy, ME) who finished in a tie for 22nd overall with 170 strokes at the Ohio Wesleyan Laura Bump Invitational at Mill Creek Golf Club last weekend.
MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS
On the men's side, two-time defending North Coast champion Wittenberg, led by fifth-year head coach Jeff Roope, collected eight of nine first place votes and 89 total points to earn the top spot in the poll based on balloting from nine of the 10 league coaches. Ohio Wesleyan was second with 70 points and the last first-place vote while DePauw, in its first season with the NCAC, finished third with 69 points. Denison (68) and Allegheny (63) rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth, respectively. Wooster (46) landed in the sixth position, with Wabash (35), Kenyon (24), Hiram (20) and Oberlin (11) in places seven through 10.
Ohio Wesleyan leads all men's squads with 14 NCAC titles, capturing eight of the last 12 crowns, while Allegheny has nine titles all-time, including winning five-straight from 1995-99. Wittenberg, which has won three titles, claimed its second-straight title last spring, while Wooster's lone championship came in the NCAC's inagural 1985 season.
The Wittenberg men's golf team has won two straight NCAC titles, and the Tigers have been ranked in the top 25 throughout the 2011-12 season. Two-time All-American Craig Osterbrock (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) and 2011 NCAC Bob Nye Medalist award winner Ben Hogenkamp (Minister, OH/Minister) remain fixtures in the Tigers' line-up. Depth is Wittenberg's real strength as Osterbrook ranks fourth on the team in scoring average and Hogenkamp sixth (through March 30) among players with at least six rounds played in the 2011-12 season. The team leader is sophomore David Wetterich (Cincinnati, OH/LaSalle), one of four players shooting 76 or better. All five Wittenberg players with at least 10 rounds played this year are averaging 18-hole round scores of 77 or better.
The Battling Bishops are led by junior Jerry Moore (Mogadore, OH/Mogadore) who is carrying a 75.31 stroke average. Senior Nate Fridley (Sidney, OH/Lehman Catholic), who earned the 2011 Dick Gordin Award, as the league' s MVP, maintains a 78.19 stroke average. Senior Caleb Chiero (Westerville, OH/Central) will look to challenge for the top spot after finishing second at the 2011 NCAC Championship. Freshman Jon Neroni (Kettering, OH/Alter) holds a 77.90 stroke average and will look to make an impact on his first conference championship.
The Tigers will turn to a trio of underclassmen to lead the way at the 2012 NCAC Championships. Freshman Eric Tandy (Warsaw, IN/Warsaw) holds the best stroke average this season at 75.33 and has a low round of 68. Freshman Ty Frost (Wilmette, IL/New Trier) has a 75.78 stroke average and a low round of 70, while sophomore Graham Singer (Zionsville, IN/Zionsville) has a stroke average of 77.71 with a low round of 72.
The Denison men's golf team is led by sophomore Dylan Lee (Hinsdale, IL/Hinsdale Central) who carries a 75.80 stroke average with a low round of 69. Lee has six top-five finishes this year. Sophomore Aaron Klimchuk (White Plains, NY/White Plains) has three top-five finishes and carries a 75.90 stoke average with a low round of 69. Freshman Dylan Francis (Manhattan Beach, CA/Loyola) has five top-10 finishes and carries a 76.90 stroke average with a low round of 69.
The Gators are led by sophomore Oliver White (Lower Gwynedd, PA/Heritage Academy) who carries a 77.50 stroke average with two top-10 finishes and a low round of 70. Senior Matthew Donahoe (McMurray, PA/Nichols) has one top-five finish and carries a 78.30 stoke average with a low round of 75. Junior Patrick Fritz (Brookville, PA/Brookville) has a 78.60 stroke average and has two top-five finishes this season.
Senior Michael Peters (Evanston, IL/Evanston Township) leads the Fighting Scots with a 78.20 stroke average. Senior Blake Sword (Wellington, OH/Wellington) is second on the team with an 80.20 average and junior John Angelo (Mayfield Hts., OH/Mayfield) is third with an 82.40 scoring average.
The Little Giants top two golfers are freshman Logan Burdick (Clinton, IN/South Vermillion) and freshman Jackson Stevens (Greenwood, IN/Roncalli). Stevens tops the list with a scoring average of 79.30 strokes through 13 rounds. Burdick, who scored a hole-in-one during the Little Giants' spring break trip to Arizona, is averaging 80.30 strokes through 13 rounds.
Kenyon's top golfers this season are freshman Alex Blickle (Wernersville, PA/Lancaster Country Day) and senior Jack Marra (Baltimore, MD/Friends School). Blickle's best tournament score is a 151 at the Muskingum University Invitational, including a season-best 18-hole score of 75. He carries an 18-hole average of 79.9 into the NCAC Championship. Marra's best tournament score this season is a 165 at the Denison University Barclay Invitational. He shot his best 18-hole score of 75 twice this season, both coming at Denison events. His 18-hole average this season sits at 83.5, just one stroke higher than his career average of 82.5.
The top two golfers for Hiram are senior Bryan Todd (Green, OH/Green) and sophomore Chad Casey (South Bend, IN/John Adams). So far this spring, both players have competed in two events. Todd currently has an 81.7 stroke average with a low round of 79, which he shot on two occasions. Casey has an 82.7 stroke average with a low round of 82, which he also recorded on two occasions.
The Oberlin College men's golf team returns two veterans who look to build on their promising efforts from last spring. Leading the charge is junior Sean Dowgray (Overland Park, KS/Blue Valley Northwest/Interlochen Arts Academy), a consistent presence on the greens who posted a team-best 44 on the Aston Oaks back nine one season ago. Joining Dowgray is senior Jacob Panka (Prairie Du Chien, WI/Prairie Du Chien), who enters his third and final season having participated in nearly every tournament for the Yeomen over the past two years. Both returnees lead an anxious group of young players who seem poised to build on the steady growth from last years NCAC Championship.