ELMHURST, Ill. - The Western Illinois men and Oral Roberts women aim to fend off the competition and defend their golf crowns next week at the 2008 Summit League Golf Championships. The 54-hole tournament will take place at the Harry Mussatto Golf Course in Macomb, Ill., from April 20-22.
Centenary's men squad looks to improve on its seventh-place finish from last season. Greg Berthlot's 74.6 average on the season leads the Gents, while Tyler Williams (78.5) and Nick Faitz (78.9) have been consistent, as well. After a third-place finish last season, the Ladies look to capture their first title behind the strokes of second-team all-league selections Jessica Garza (78.9) and Chloe Mims (79.4). Mims finished sixth at last season's championships, while Garza was eighth.
Patrick Kelley's 74.7 average leads the Mastodons' men's team into their first championships. Hartly Mcleod (75.9) and Andy Campbell (75.8) will also help IPFW in its effort to capture its first title. The women's squad looks for a boost from Jillian Speece (81.0) and Alison Rathsman (82.8), as the pair have led the team with top finishes in all but two tournaments this season.
The IUPUI men's team looks to win the title for the first time in three years behind Ben Engle (75.7), Michael Powell (77.0) and Jeff Bertch (77.6). Engle's best round of 67 is tied for fourth-best in the league this season. The Jaguar women's squad is led by Tara Boone with an 81.8 average and Kelli Holloway (82.7).
UMKC looks to uphold its first place preseason ranking on the men's side behind first-team honoree Stephen Clark (73.8) and Alex Hogben (74.3). Both golfers rank in the Top 10 in the league in stroke averages this season. Sally Meiner's 85.3 average and Jessica Fleming's 85.8 average lead the Kangaroo women's team into the championships this year following a fourth-place finish last season.
Competing in their first league championship, the Bison will rely on Taylor Cavanagh (75.0) in hopes of bringing home the title. Adam Wudel (77.0), Reid Mattson (77.5) and Joe Schornack (77.7) provide much needed depth for North Dakota State. The NDSU women's squad is led by Jenna Buckwalter (79.7), who has been the top finisher in four of its seven tournaments.
Frank McAuliffe (78.0) leads the Golden Grizzlies men's team into the tournament. Not far behind McAuliffe's average are Robby McNiff (78.3) and Vince Carango (78.4), who will add depth to the lineup. On the women's side, Austin McDermaid has the eighth-best stroke average in the league at 79.9, while Nikki Swan (81.7), a second-team honoree a year ago, will help OU contend for the title.
After a second-place finish on the men's side last season, Oral Roberts looks to capture the title this season behind the strokes of Austin Hannah (73.9) and Terance Begnel (75.1). The Golden Eagles' women's squad looks to capture its record 11th-straight title with first-team selection Christy Carter (75.8) and defending Athlete of the Year Pamela Ontiveros (76.1) leading the charge. Carter and Ontiveros are first and second, respectively, in The Summit League in stroke average this season.
The Jackrabbit men's squad is led by Trent Peterson's seventh-best league average (74.5) and Geoff Mead (74.9). On the women's side, Hillary Gerster has a 78.8 average, which is fourth in the league, while Holly Opatz (82.2) will help SDSU try to secure the title in its first year at the championships.
Southern Utah looks to win its first title in school history with stroke leaders Matt McArthur (72.3), a first-team honoree, and Nate Page (73.1), a second-team all-league selection, leading the way. Also in the mix for the Thunderbirds is Eric Nilsson (74.3). The T-Bird women are competing in the championships for the first time ever and are led by Mandi Incorvaia (83.7) and Candra Sumedhatip (85.0), who have been the top finishers for SUU in every tournament this season.
Jared Steger leads the Leathernecks into the championships with a 74.5 average. Steger has been WIU's top finisher in five tournaments this season, while Kyle Peterman (75.5) has been tops in four. The Westerwinds are led by first-team selection Becky Allen with an 81.0 average, while Claire Gursh and Jennifer Holt each have an 85.1 average.
The Summit League is comprised of 10 member institutions - Centenary College of Louisiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), North Dakota State University, Oakland University, Oral Roberts University, South Dakota State University, Southern Utah University and Western Illinois University. The league offers championships in 19 sports.