|Posted May 4, 2011|
ThunderWolves qualify for nationals with 4th place finish
Pack golfers heading to national championships for first time since 1995.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (GoThunderWolves.com - May 4, 2011) - The CSU-Pueblo men's golf team ascended to heights unseen since 1995 as it qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships after a fourth place finish at the West/Central Super Regionals Wednesday.
The ThunderWolves maintained its consistent play Wednesday, shooting a team 289, a one-over-par score. It comes on the heels of an even-par 288 in the first round Monday, and an identical one-over 289 in the second round. It finished fourth overall, making it one of the top five teams fro mthe West/Central Super Regionals to qualify for the National Championships.
"This is a huge step forward for our program," CSU-Pueblo head coach, Josh Koschke, said. "We set a goal of winning a national title, and the first two steps was to win the RMAC Championship and to qualify for nationals, and now we've done that."
CSU-Pueblo, which entered regionals ranked 42nd in the nation, joined regional champion Cal State-Monterey Bay (9th in the nation), Sonoma State (11th), RMAC foe Fort Lewis (27th), and Hawaii-Hilo (36th). The ThunderWolves were able to outlast six top 25 teams to claim one of the five national-qualifying spots, including top ten squads Western Washington (8th) and Chico State (2nd) and RMAC combatant, UC-Colorado Springs (25th).
Koschke said familiarity went a long way toward a successful outing at the Super Regional. CSU-Pueblo golfers had played on the University of New Mexico Championship Course, the site of the tournament, six times before the tournament began.
"We had a good feel for it and we knew what we wanted to do," Koschke said.
Leading the ThunderWolves was Bryan Kruse (Jr., Westminster, Colo.), who shot an even par 216, a personal best for a 54-hole tournament, finishing tied for 11th overall. Two other ThunderWolves finished in the top 20 - Jonathan Park (Fr., Denver, Colo.), who finished 17th with a one-over-par and James Berry (So., Traverse City, Mich.) who finished 20th with a two-over score.
CSU-Pueblo's qualification for the NCAA Division II National Championships, its first since 1994, is only the second since it became a Division II school in 1990. Its highest ever finish at nationals was 7th in 1975.
"It's special that this group of guys accomplished this feat," Koschke said of his team, of which none will be lost to graduation this year. "They put in the hard work and dedication, lifting and working, hitting balls until dark, and now all of it has paid off."
CSU-Pueblo will begin its trek at nationals on May 16 when it hits the links at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals in Florence, Ala.