WWU plays host to 42nd Annual Viking Invitational, Vikings look for second straight title, 16th overall

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Paul Madison

September 20, 2013, Bellingham, WA (ISN) – Looking for a second straight title, nationally top 10 ranked Western Washington University plays host to the 42nd Annual Viking Invitational Men’s Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 23 (8:30 a.m.), and Tuesday, Sept. 24 (7:45 a.m.) at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

Eleven teams are competing in the event. They include Academy of Art, British Columbia, Dixie State, Hawaii Hilo, Montana State Billings, Notre Dame de Namur, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin’s, Simon Fraser, Sonoma State and the Vikings.

Last year the Vikings won by 17 strokes in snapping a five-year drought and claiming a 15th title overall at their tourney. They had tied for second the previous two years.

WWU, ranked No.9 in the 2013 Golf World/Nike Golf/NCAA II College Coaches Association of America Top 25 Preseason Poll, reached the semifinals at last season’s national tournament. Hawaii Hilo ranks No.14 nationally.

Leading the Vikings are Mark Strickland (Jr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) and Kyle Schrader (Jr., Olympia/Tumwater).

Strickland earned Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star honors last spring, having a 74.2 stroke average. He is the WWU tourney defending champion, winning by one stroke, and last month won the 39th Annual Bellingham Amateur.

Schrader took medalist honors at the South Central/West Regional and placed fifth at the GNAC Tournament, finishing with a 76.0 stroke average.

A third returning letter winner is sophomore Jack Kelly (Snoqualmie/Mount Si). Also back are two redshirts from a year ago – Brennan Emory (Mount Vernon) and Kyle Lindor (Woodinville).

Completing the squad are four talented freshmen – Anthony Allen (Arlington), David Fonua (Seattle/O’Dea), Chris Hatch (Mukilteo/Kamiak) and Willy Scholten (Lynden/Lynden Christian).

Great Northwest Athletic Conference

Men’s Golf Week 1 Report (Sept. 20, 2013)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington, ranked No. 9 in the nation according to a Golf World preseason poll, is set to host the 42nd annual Western Washington University Invitational next week.

The Vikings get their season started at home as they host four other GNAC schools in the first conference tournament of the season, which spans over Monday and Tuesday.

Despite WWU being the only GNAC team ranked amongst the nation’s best, three other GNAC schools hold the advantage of having competed already this fall.

Montana State Billings, Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene, which already have matches under their belts, will travel to Bellingham to challenge WWU on its home turf.

Simon Fraser will also make the trip to northwest Washington to participate in the two-day affair.

STARTING STRONG: NNU and MSU Billings got their team seasons started last week, and had impressive showings.

The Crusaders’ Nick Hardy (SR, Edmonds, WA – Kings) shot a 69 and was named GNAC Golfer of the Week as NNU began 2013-14 with a nine-stroke victory over rival College of Idaho.

NNU had three golfers shoot at par or better in the single round dual match, with Michael Delie (So., Boise, ID – Mountain View) coming in at two under with 70 and Davis Halle (Sr., Edmonds, WA – Edmonds-Woodway) posting an even 72.

MSU Billings had much to be excited about after hosting its annual fall Yellowjacket Invitational, as it finished second as a team and placed three individuals in the top-10.

SMU sent individual golfers to the Husky Invite at the University of Washington to compete with NCAA Division I golfers earlier this week.

Ben Fosnick (Jr., Lakewood, WA – Lakes) was the top finisher for the Saints, with a three round total of 217 to tie him with four other golfers for eighth in the tournament.

COACHING DEBUT: Luke Bennett will make his coaching debut with the Vikings next week as he takes the reins from six-time GNAC Coach of the Year Steve Card. Bennett was an All-American golfer at WWU and looks to follow the Vikings’ third-place finish at the NCAA Division II championship last season with a repeat in 2013-14.

SENIORITY: MSU Billings and NNU carry the most experience into this season, each with four seniors on their rosters. Leading the way for MSUB are Brad Harrelson (Sr., Snoqualmie, WA – Mount Si) and Marcus Drange (Sr., Billings, MT – Billings West), the latter a second team All-GNAC pick a year ago.

For NNU, it is 2012 second team all-GNAC select Hardy who will set the pace.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: SMU and WWU are both without seniors this season, as the two schools will look to their young rosters to take on leadership roles.

Fosnick has twice been picked as a second team all-GNAC golfer and is one of two juniors on the Saints’ squad.

For the Vikings, junior Mark Strickland (Jr., Mukilteo, WA – Kamiak) is set to have a breakout year after averaging 74.2 last season.

SFU has a trio of second team All-GNAC picks returning as its talent is spread evenly throughout the different classes. Mike Belle (Sr., Burnaby, BC – St. Thomas More), John Mlikotic (Jr., Kelowna, BC – Imaculata Regional) and Bret Thompson (So., Winnipeg, MB – St. Paul’s) look to be the Clan’s top golfers with collegiate experience.

FALL SCHEDULE: September – 23-24: NNU, SFU, MSUB, SMU & WWU at Western Washington Invitational. 29-30: MSUB at Rocky Mountain College Invitational. 30-10/1: WWU, SFU, & SMU at Golfweek Invitational. October – 2-3: MSUB vs. Rocky Mountain College. 7-8: WWU, SFU, NNU & MSUB at Chico State Wildcat Classic. 14-15: NNU at Sonoma State Invitational. 21-22: WWU at Cal State Monterey Bay Invite. 27-29: SMU at Dennis Rose Invitational.

WWU INVITE GNAC-ERA RECORDS:

36-Hole Total – 138 Thomas Jun, WWU, 69-69 (Sept. 26-27, 2008)

54-Hole Total – 207 Brian Barhanovich, WWU, 64-71-72 (Sept. 27-28, 2010)

Single Round – 64, Brian Barhanovich, WWU (Sept. 27, 2010)

36-Hole Total, Team – 564, WWU, 287-277 (Sept. 26-27, 2008)

54-Hole Total, Team – 848, WWU, 284-284-280 (Sept. 24-25, 2012)

Single Round, Team – 277, WWU (Sept. 27, 2008)

RESULTS

NNU vs. College of Idaho Dual Match (Sept. 11, 2013 at Ridgecrest GC, Nampa, ID): Team Scores – 1. Northwest Nazarene, 291. Individuals – 1. Nick Hardy, NNU, 69; 2. Michael Delie, NNU, 70; 4. Davis Halle, NNU, 72; T-6. Ian Briske, NNU, 76; T-6. Brock Sargent, NNU, 76; T-9. Thomas Hanacek, NNU, 78; T-12. Connor Magnuson, NNU, 79; T-12. Justin McAfee, NNU, 79.

Yellowjacket Invitational (Sept. 12-13, 2013 at Pryor Creek GC, Billings, MT): Team Scores – 1. North Idaho CC, 560 (293-267); 2. MSU Billings, 568 (291-277). Individuals – 1. Chris Cremer, NICC 135 (71-64); 3. Brad Harrelson, MSUB 139 (71-68); T-5. Marcus Drange, MSUB 142 (74-68); T-8. Austin Westphal, MSUB 144 (73-71); T-14. Houston Bradbury, MSUB 147 (73-74); T-20. Gage Huft, MSUB 149 (79-70).

Husky Invite (Sept.16-17, 2013 at Gold Mountain Cascade Course, Bremerton, WA): Individuals – 1. Thomas Lim, Oregon 201 (68-67-66); T-8. Ben Fosnick, SMU 217 (73-69-75); T-13. Ryan Baumgart, SMU 218 (74-72-72); T-13. Austin Spicer, SMU 218 (71-75-72); T-17. Kevin Cullen, SMU 219 (73-75-71); T-25. Patrick Whealdon, SMU 223 (78-74-71); T-34. Jared Rasmussen, SMU 226 (75-77-74); T-39. Ryan Pickthorn, SMU 228 (73-76-79); 45. Jack Davis, SMU 234 (78-79-77).

2013 GOLFERS OF THE WEEK: Sept. 9-15 – Nick Hardy, NNU.

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