UMKC, ORU Favored to Claim League Men's Golf Title

UMKC, ORU Favored to Claim League Men's Golf Title

ELMHURST, Ill. - UMKC and Oral Roberts have been selected as the favorites to claim The Summit League men's golf title as both schools garnered 68 points in the preseason poll. The voting panel consisted of the league's 10 head coaches, who cannot vote for their own squad.

The Kangaroos received seven first-place votes for their 68 points, while the Golden Eagles did not receive any. Next was Southern Utah with 64 points and one first-place vote, while Western Illinois tallied 61 points and the final two first-place votes. South Dakota State was in fifth place with 47 points, followed closely behind by North Dakota State's 40 points and IUPUI's 37 points. IPFW (29 points) was predicted in the eighth slot, while Oakland (27 points) and Centenary (9 points) rounded out the voting.

UMKC, looking to claim its first league title, is led by first-team all-league selection Stephen Clark. Clark tied for fifth at last season's championship and was the Kangaroos' top golf in the fall season with a 73.2 stroke average. Second-team all-conference member Michael Schnegelberger also returns after compiling a 77.3 average last fall. UMKC will also count on Alex Hogben (73.9), Neil Horsley (74.5) and Brett Iliff (75.7) to contend for the league championship.

The Golden Eagles are looking to capture their sixth title in team history, last winning it in 2003, behind the swings of defending Newcomer of the Year Scott Stiles. Stiles had a 77.6 stroke average in the fall season and finished with a 73.8 average last spring. Brett Willis was the top ORU finisher in three fall tournaments with a 75.0 average, while Austin Hannah recorded a 74.4 average last fall and had the fifth-highest average last spring (73.2).

First-team all-league selection Matt McArthur looks to lead Southern Utah to the title after finishing the fall with a 71.6 average and recording the best stroke average in three tournaments for the Thunderbirds. Tai Reynolds and Nate Page, both second-team selections a year ago, also return after recording a 74.3 and 73.1 stroke averages, respectively. Eric Nilsson, who posted a 71.7 fall stroke average, also returns.

Despite losing Player of the Year Tim Streng, the Leathernecks' reigning Coach of the Year Mel Blasi returns a solid team, that looks to capture its third consecutive league championship. Jared Steger and Kyle Peterman lead WIU this season after finishing the fall season with stroke averages of 74.4 and 74.9, respectively. Both athletes also had the lowest score in two tournaments apiece for Western during the fall season.

One of three newcomers to the league, South Dakota State looks to surprise the rest of the teams and vie for the championship title. The Jackrabbits will count on their top two golfers from the fall season in Geoff Mead (74.1) and Trent Peterson (74.5).

North Dakota State looks to make its mark in the league as it is led by Taylor Cavanagh, who completed the fall season with a 73.5 stroke average. The Bison will also look to Adam Wudel (75.1) and Joe Schornack (75.5) to help lead them to the league title.

Jaguars head coach John Andrews returns a core group of golfers, led by Ben Engle. Engle had the lowest team stroke average in five tournaments last fall and finished the season with a 73.4 average. Ben Moster (75.8) and Michael Powell (76.1) provide added depth for IUPUI, as it looks to capture its third league title.

The Mastodons were led during the fall season by Hartley Mcleod with a 72.8 stroke average. Mcleod, along with Patrick Kelley (73.8) and Tyler Haire (74.4) look to solidify IPFW at The Summit League Championship.

After placing sixth in the league championship last season, Oakland looks to improve this year behind the swing of Frank McAuliffe. McAuliffe led the Golden Grizzlies in the fall season with a 77.4 average, while Jack Nacy (78.3) and Nate Hendricks (78.5) will provide needed depth to the team.

Greg Berthelot leads Centenary after recording a 73.0 stroke average during the fall season. Along with Berthelot, the Gents will count on Nick Faitz (78.3) and Tyler Williams (78.5) to help them contend for the league title.

The Summit League Men's Golf Championship will be held at the Harry Mussatto Golf Course on the campus of Western Illinois in Macomb, Ill., April 20-22. The team champion will earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Men's Golf Tournament.

2008 Men's Golf Preseason Poll

Team

Points (1st)

1.

UMKC

68 (7)

Oral Roberts

68

3.

Southern Utah

64 (1)

4.

Western Illinois

61 (2)

5.

South Dakota State

47

6.

North Dakota State

40

7.

IUPUI

37

8.

IPFW

29

9.

Oakland

27

10.

Centenary

9



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