Springfield, Ohio – After placing five student-athletes on the PING All-Great Lakes Region each of the last two years, the Wittenberg University men's golf team topped itself in 2016, placing six student-athletes on the 2016 all-region honors list announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).
Senior Sam Geise (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro), juniors Sam Stilwell (Sterling, Va./Dominion), Mark David Wright (Westerville, Ohio/Tree of Life) and Garrett Brickley (Pickerington, Ohio/North), and freshmen Isaac Hartley (Bellevue, Ohio/Bellevue) and Colin Laszlo (Waipahu, Hawaii/Punahou) earned first-team All-Great Lakes Region honors in recognition of their regular season performance. All six players will now be considered for All-America honors, which will be announced later this week.
The six Tiger student-athletes received their all-region certificates at a banquet hosted by the GCAA on Tuesday, May 11, in Greensboro, NC, where the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament is taking place this week. The all-region awards were among several different announcements during the banquet.
"Placing six players on the all-region list speaks to the depth and quality of our program," said Head Coach Jeff Roope. "It really fits our team-first philosophy. It's not necessarily the 'next man up mentality,' but it's a comfort level with every player on the team being able to step into the lineup at any time. It is fantastic to see that many players gain such impressive recognition."
Geise earned his second all-region award after posting his best collegiate stroke average at 74.28, which ranked second on the team among players who scored in more than 10 rounds during the season heading into the national tournament. He recorded four top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments during the 2015-16 campaign, and he earned first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) honors after second-team recognition a year ago, first-team in 2013, and honorable mention in 2014.
Stilwell also picked up his second all-region award in 2016 after he finished the regular season sixth on the team with a 75.52 stroke average. He earned first-team All-NCAC recognition a year ago after finishing third in the league's Championship Series, and he has posted 11 top-10 finishes over the last two seasons.
Brickley has enjoyed a breakout 2015-16 season, leading the Tigers in scoring average at 74.10 during the regular season. He earned first-team All-NCAC honors, and Brickley was recently named a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award, given to the top golfer in all of NCAA Division III.
Wright earned second-team All-NCAC honors and ranks fifth on the team in scoring average at 75.16. Hartley has come on strong in the second half of his inaugural collegiate campaign, turning in three top-10 finishes during the spring season and earning first-team All-NCAC honors. Laszlo has been steady throughout his first collegiate season, posting three top-10 performances in nine tournaments. Hartley ranks third on the team in scoring average at 74.46 and Laszlo stands fourth at 74.95.
Also of note, Laszlo was named to the 2016 NCAA Division III All-Freshmen Team by the GCAA. The six-member team includes one golfer from each of six regions, with Laszlo representing the Great Lakes Region. Members of the All-Freshmen Team are eligible for the Phil Mickelson Award as the most outstanding freshman in NCAA Division III, which will be announced on Friday, May 13.
The team's victory in the NCAC Championship Series earned the Tigers their seventh straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Wittenberg has made a total of 22 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and 23 national tournament appearances overall, including a 1974 berth in the NCAA College Division Tournament.
Wittenberg finished in the top five in all 11 tournaments in the 2015-16 regular season, including wins in three straight competitions to close the campaign. The last two tournament victories combined to give the Tigers the NCAC Championship Series title by 15 strokes over runner-up Allegheny.
Written By: Ryan Maurer