Northeast Ohio will be well represented — both team-wise and individually — when the NCAA Division I Regional Golf Tournaments get underway Monday, May 16th at six sites nationwide.
Heading the list, as usual, is Kent State. The Flashes, in the regionals for the 23d time in the last 27 years following their dominant 20-stroke win in the Mid-American Conference tournament, are the eighth-seeded team in the regional at the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run, in Kohler, Wisc.
Cleveland State, fresh off its third straight Horizon League championship, is the 13th seed at the Champions Course at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The Vikings are in the regionals for the seventh time in the last 11 years.
The top five teams and the low individual not on one of the qualifying teams will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held May 27-June 1 in Eugene, Ore.
MAJOR NORTHEAST OHIO ROSTER CONNECTIONS
Both KSU and CSU feature players from Northeast Ohio.
Barberton’s Chase Johnson (Walsh Jesuit) and Stow’s Ian Holt (Stow), both sophomores, carry the top two scoring averages for coach Herb Page at KSU. Johnson, the MAC player of the year, enters the regionals with a 72.5 average while Holt, a first-teamer on the all-MAC team, is averaging 73.14 strokes.
CSU, coached by Steve Weir, has northeast Ohioans holding down three of the top five spots on the roster in Columbia Station sophomore Joey Krecic (Lakewood St. Edward), Strongsville junior Paul Minko and Medina junior Patrick Luth.
Krecic, named to the Horizon League’s first team, leads the Vikings with a 73.1 scoring average. Luth, third in the league tournament, is third on the team with a 74.5 average and Minko, the team’s top finisher in last year’s regionals, is averaging 75.2.
The Vikings will not be the only northeast Ohioans at Albuquerque. Jake McBride, at Lake High graduate is one of the top three players on sixth-seeded North Carolina State’s squad. McBride’s is averaging 71.7 strokes, third-best on the team this spring.
The University of Akron’s George Baylis, while not from NEOH, is one of the individual qualifiers at Blackwolf Run. Baylis is from England.
The University of Illinois is the top-seeded team at Kohler, followed by Florida State and Florida. The University of Southern California is the top-seeded team in New Mexico, followed by Arizona State and the University of South Florida.
KSU is in for some challenging weather. The forecast in Wisconsin calls for temperatures in the mid-60s with some rain expected today. While the rain is expected to move out of the area the temperatures are expected to fall to 56 on Tuesday and 59 on Wednesday.
“It snowed here today,” Page said. “It is what it is, but it’s going to be tough.”
The expected highs at the other sites are 79 in Albuquerque, 74 in Stillwater, Okla., 70 in Franklin, Tenn., 81 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. And 94 in Marana, Az.
The KSU team includes senior Josh Whalen (Ontario, Canada) and freshmen Gisli Sveinbergsson and Bjarki Petursson, both from Iceland. Whalen is averaging 74.5 strokes while Sveinbergsson is at 73.6 and Petursson is at 74.71.
CSU’s roster is completed by East Liverpool sophomore Blake Prince (74.3) and Westerville senior Mitch Moore (75.5).
LONE WOLF IN DIVISION II
North Canton resident and Jackson graduate John Tidenberg will be the lone Northeast Ohioan in the Division II National Championships starting Tuesday at the Green Valley Ranch Club in Denver. Tidenberg led Tiffin to a fourth-place finish in the Midwest regional at The Meadows in Allendale, Mich., when he finished in a tie for 14th with teammate Brett Green.
KENT STATE WOMEN IN NEAR MISS
The Kent State women’s season came to a close last week when the Golden Flashes finished eighth in the Midwest regionals in Bryan, Texas. KSU finished with a team score of 881, missing the cut to be one of six to advance to the NCAA nationals by two shots. Georgia won the regional with a score of 858. Arizona, UCLA, Furman, Miami and Texas were the other qualifiers, with Texas earning the final spot with a score of 879. Wad Phaewchimplee was KSU’s top finisher in 17th place.
DIVISION III AREA TEAMS FARE WELL
The Division III Men’s National Championship is already complete. Wittenberg finished T3 and Otterbein was 7th. FINAL RESULTS FOR DIVISION III HERE >