WWU Men's Golf Preview: Vikings have new coach, young team
Sept. 17, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Following perhaps the best season in school history, the Western Washington University men's golf team will have a new head coach for the first time in 20 seasons in 2013-14 and a roster that lists just three upperclassmen.
Taking over the coaching duties on an interim basis is former Viking All-American Luke Bennett. He replaces Steve Card, named WWU's interim director of athletics for 2013-14. During his tenure, Card coached 25 All-Americans and directed the Vikings to 12 national appearances and every Great Northwest Athletic Conference title since the league began that championship six years ago.
Last season, the Vikings had a school-best semifinal finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships after placing second at the South Central/West Regional. They are ranked No.9 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Preseason Poll.
"I'm very excited about the season ahead," said Bennett. "This should be a really, solid young squad, especially with the freshmen crop we have coming in. It's going to be a fun experience for myself and the team."
Schrader took medalist honors at regionals and placed fifth at the GNAC Tournament, finishing with a 76.0 stroke average. Strickland, who had a 74.2 stroke average and was a GNAC all-star, took medalist honors at the WWU Invitational and placed second at both the Cal Baptist and Cal State Stanislaus tournaments.
A third returning letter winner is sophomore Jack Kelly (Snoqualmie/Mount Si), a 2012-13 GNAC Player of the Week. Also back are two redshirts from a year ago - Brennan Emory (Mount Vernon) and Kyle Lindor (Woodinville).
Allen was a Class 4A state tournament qualifier and all-Western Conference performer all four years in high school, taking the district title as a junior and being runner-up as a sophomore.
Fonua placed third at the Class 3A state meet as a junior and fifth as a sophomore. Hatch was a four-time conference all-star and finished eighth at the Class 4A state tourney as a junior on a title-winning team.
Scholten placed fourth at the Class 2A state tourney as a senior after being second his sophomore and junior seasons.
WWU opens its season on Sept. 23-24 by playing host to the 42nd Annual Viking Invitational at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.
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