St. Vincent golf team wins program's first PAC title
They may call themselves the underdogs, but members of the St. Vincent men's golf team snatched the Presidents Athletic Conference Championship last week.
A program in just it's ninth year, the Bearcats captured their first PAC title and did so in impressive fashion.
The Bearcats combined for a two-day total of 599 at Cedarbrook Golf Club in Belle Vernon and had 1,204 strokes in the combined fall and spring tournaments. They entered the spring finale with a 12-stroke lead over second-place Washington & Jefferson, which tallied 614 in rounds three and four for a total of 1,231 on the par 72 course.
The win buys St. Vincent, in its ninth year as a program, an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, set for May 14-17 in Destin, Fla.
“Going to nationals is a huge honor, but my expectations about nationals are very modest,” coach Tom Cline said. “Most of the teams down there are going to be much more experienced than we are. I think they have worked hard and outplayed their talent level because of their mental preparation, their weight lifting and their running and their desire.”
Individually, the Bearcats grabbed the first three spots last week. Sophomore Micah Markantone claimed the PAC MVP title by shooting a 74-73 (147) over the two days.
“I won in the fall and I remember being a lot more excited about that, but I just felt really humble,” said Markantone, who also was named the PAC player of the year Monday. “I was just happy for our team and that we could make it to nationals. That just made my day really.”
Last year's winner, junior Sam Cline finished third with 75-76 (151). Sophomore Tim Barto filled the gap by taking second with a 74-73 (147). The trio all were named first-team all-conference.
The team relied a lot on communication between holes to stay focused and calm on the greens.
“There is none of that competition,” Sam Cline said. “It's a cliché, but everyone on this team wants everybody else to do well.”
Junior captain Derek Lingafelt placed 11th with a 77-77 (154). Freshman Jake Reed rounded out the Bearcats' scoring with a 14th-place finish with 81-75 (156).
Cline also reaped the benefits, when he was named PAC coach of the year for the first time.
“We all look up to him,” Lingafelt said. “When he was our age, he was playing Division I. He's still a great player now. He's a good coach. He's a good mix of serious and friendly so we all enjoy playing for him. He knows how to have a good time and keep it fun.”
The Bearcats also competed at the Carnegie Mellon University Spring Invitational at Longvue Country Club in Verona last week, finishing in fourth place. Lingafelt led SVC with a 78 to tie for fifth.
Also competing for St. Vincent were Christian Tambelline (83), Timothy Barto (85), Jack Boros (87) and Joe Paul (87).
Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.