Springfield, Ohio – For the fourth straight year and the 20th time in program history, the Wittenberg University men’s golf team has earned the opportunity to compete in an NCAA Tournament. The Tigers, ranked No. 14 nationally, will compete for the 2013 NCAA Division III title May 14-17 at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Fla.
The tournament, hosted by Methodist University, will include 41 teams and a total of 210 competitors. The Tigers were one of 30 teams to qualify automatically after winning the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championship for the fifth time overall and fourth straight year.
The national tournament berth is Wittenberg’s 19th as a member of NCAA Division III and 20th overall, including the program’s first-ever national bid in 1974 as a member of the College Division. A year ago, the Tigers finished seventh in the nation at the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament, hosted by Oglethorpe University at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. It was the ninth top-10 finish in program history.
Wittenberg has finished first in six of its 11 tournaments in the 2012-13 season, including wins at Denison and the prestigious Gordin Classic, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan, in the fall and concluding with victories in The Members Invitational hosted by Wittenberg in Hilton Head, SC, and at Wooster, Denison and Ohio Wesleyan in the spring. The final two tourney titles earned the Tigers their fourth consecutive victory in the NCAC Championship Series.
The Tigers head into the national competition ranked fifth nationally in average team score. In 24 rounds, Wittenberg has posted an impressive average score of 75.61.
Sophomore Alex Andrews (Kirtland, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) leads the Tigers individually with a 73.83 stroke average, which ranks 25th nationally. He has won two tournaments during the 2012-13 season and recorded five top-five finishes, and he capped his regular season with a dominating performance in the NCAC Championship Series.
Andrews finished first in the Ted Barclay Invitational at Denison and sixth in the NCAC Championship Series #2 at Ohio Wesleyan to run away with both the Bob Nye Award as the conference championship medalist and the Dick Gordin Award as the NCAC Player of the Year. Andrews finished with a four-round total of two-over-par 286 to win the series title by a whopping 11 strokes.
Andrews is one of two Wittenberg players to see action in all 24 rounds during the 2012-13 season. The other is junior Ben Hogenkamp (Minster, Ohio/Minster), who has two tournaments wins and four top-five finishes to his credit to go along with a 75.3 stroke average.
Freshman Sam Geise (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) finished sixth in the NCAC Championship Series to join Andrews on the All-NCAC first team, while junior David Wetterich (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) placed eighth to earn second-team honors. He stands third on the team in stroke average, a year after earning second-team All-America honors with a 14th-place finish in the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Head Coach Jeff Roope, now in his sixth season leading the Red & White, earned his fourth straight NCAC Coach of the Year award in recognition of his team’s accomplishment.
Written By: Ryan Maurer