April 24, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Three Western Washington University players were named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men's Golf All-Star team released Thursday by the conference office.
Selected to the first team were Kyle Schrader (Jr., Olympia/Tumwater) and Chris Hatch (Fr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) with Mark Strickland (Jr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) a second-team pick. Strickland was a first-team choice last year.
Schrader, who tied for second place at the GNAC Tournament, has a season scoring average of 75.1.
Hatch, who has a 75.7 average, tied for fourth at the conference championship.
Strickland has a 75.6 average.
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
Belle Named Men's Golf Player of the Year
PORTLAND, Ore. - Simon Fraser senior golfer Mike Belle was voted Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's golf Player of the Year, after posting a GNAC-best scoring average of 74.0 strokes per round during the 2013-14 season.
"Mike has been our team's number one golfer since his freshman year," SFU head coach John Buchanan commented on Belle, who finished tied for 14th at the GNAC Championships earlier this week. "He has been an exceptionally consistent competitor over his four years with many top-10 finishes."
Joining Belle on the first team was teammate Kevin Vigna, who was also recognized as the conference Freshman of the Year. Vigna's scoring average was just behind Belle's at 74.1, and his first collegiate win came at the GNAC Golf Championships presented by the Coeur d'Alene Resort. Vigna was the lone player to shoot par at the GNAC Championships with a three-round total of 213 (75-67-71). He logged the low round of the tournament with a 67 in round two, and he shot an eagle on his final hole of the tournament on the par-4, 482-yard 18th hole.
"Kevin came to SFU as a top junior player from the Pacific Northwest," Buchanan said. "He has started all but two tournaments this past season, and has one of the top scoring averages in the conference."
Helping Northwest Nazarene to the GNAC Championships team title, senior Nick Hardy garnered first team all-conference honors as well. Hardy averaged 74.6 strokes per round during his senior campaign, and highlighted the season with a victory at the Sonoma State Invitational in October.
"Nick's goal all season long has been to be an all-conference player and reach the NCAA regional tournament," head coach Craig Stensgaard commented during an interview on GNAC Insider. "As a coach it is awesome to have a player that is driven like that. Nick is a special kid."
Stensgaard and Saint Martin's head coach Kevin Bishop were voted by their peers as GNAC co-Coaches of the Year.
Stensgaard is in his 15th year at his alma mater, and led the Crusaders to the school's first conference championship in any sport since 2001. Bishop is in his sixth season as head coach at Saint Martin's.
Earning first team honors from Western Washington were junior Kyle Schrader and freshman Chris Hatch. Schrader was the top eligible individual for the Vikings, averaging a score of 74.7 while competing in nine events throughout the year. Schrader tied for second place at the GNAC Championships with a 7-over par 220 (71-69-80).
Hatch was close behind his teammate with an average of 75.2, and made headlines when he aced the 194-yard 18th hole at the Cal State Monterey Bay Invitational in October. Hatch was also a top-5 finisher at the GNAC Championships, tying for fourth place with a score of 221 (76-68-77).
Rounding out the first team was Saint Martin's freshman Ryan Baumgart, who tied for second place at the 2013-14 GNAC Championships with a 7-over par 220 (73-73-74).
Earning GNAC Newcomer of the Year honors was Austin Westphal of Montana State Billings. In his first year in the conference after transferring from North Idaho College, Westphal averaged a score of 75.8 this season.
2013-14 GNAC Men's Golf All-Conference Team
First Team: Mike Belle, Simon Fraser (Sr., Burnaby, BC - St. Thomas More); Nick Hardy, Northwest Nazarene (Sr., Edmonds, WA - Western Washington); Chris Hatch, Western Washington (Fr., Mukilteo, WA - Kamiak); Kyle Schrader, Western Washington (Jr., Olympia, WA - Biola); Kevin Vigna, Simon Fraser (Fr., Coquitlam, BC); Ryan Baumgart, Saint Martin's (Fr., Walla Walla, WA - DeSales Catholic).
Second Team: Connor Magnuson, Northwest Nazarene (Jr., Albany, OR - Linfield); Mark Strickland, Western Washington (Jr., Mukilteo, WA - Kamiak); Bret Thompson, Simon Fraser (So., Winnipeg, MB - St. Paul's); John Mlikotic, Simon Fraser (Jr., Kelowna, BC - Imaculata Regional); Patrick Whealdon, Saint Martin's (Jr., Ilwaco, WA - Ilwaco); Gage Huft, Montana State Billings (Jr., Kimberly, ID - Kimberly).
Player of the Year: Mike Belle, Simon Fraser (Sr., Burnaby, BC - St. Thomas More)
Freshman of the Year: Kevin Vigna, Simon Fraser (Fr., Coquitlam, BC)
Newcomer of the Year: Austin Westphal, Montana State Billings (Jr., Coeur d'Alene, ID - North Idaho College).
Coach of the Year: Craig Stensgaard, Northwest Nazarene and Kevin Bishop, Saint Martin's.
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Pair of Men's Golfers Earn GNAC Academic Awards
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Vikings Repeat as GNAC Champions
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Men's Golf in 2nd Place at GNAC Championships
Senior Chris Hatch one stroke back of tournament lead with 36-hole score of -4 (138)