COURTESY OF GNAC SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE
WINTHROP, Mass. – Hungry for its third consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Golf team title and spring trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament, Johnson & Wales University (RI) has been selected atop the 2019 GNAC pre-championship poll, as voted upon by the league's eight head coaches.
The Wildcats have been labeled the favorite for the two-day, 36-hole event, which will be hosted by Saint Joseph's College of Maine at Biddeford-Saco Country Club in Saco, Maine this Saturday-Sunday, October 12-13. JWU received six of a possible eight first-place votes and 61 points overall in the poll.
Student-athletes will begin teeing off at 10:00 AM on Saturday morning following player introductions. Sunday's Day 2 competition is scheduled to get underway at 9:30 AM.
After JWU, the University of Southern Maine received two first-place nods and 51 points to take the second spot in the championship poll, as the Huskies' roster may prove to be familiar with the course.
Rounding out the top-five were Suffolk University with 46 points, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with 38 points, and Rhode Island College with 36 points. Making up the remainder of the poll were host SJC with 32 points, while Albertus Magnus College and Emmanuel College tied for seventh with 12 points apiece.
From JWU, freshman Nico Ciolino will compete at the top spot having earned two GNAC Golfer of the Week awards and three GNAC Rookie of the Week honors. Wildcats senior Mac Patch recently earned GNAC top golfer honors on Oct. 1 for earning co-medalist honors at the Farmingdale State College Fall Invitational. Alex Parente, Hunter DiLorenzo and 2017 GNAC Rookie of the Year Ryan Malloy will round out the Wildcats' starting five.
From Southern Maine, 2016 GNAC Rookie of the Year Greg Kalagias will look to pave the way alongside senior Tristan Dundas, who this past Tuesday was crowned GNAC Golfer of the Week after he was the co-medalist at the MMA Mariner Invitational and the low medalist at the USM Fall Classic.
For Suffolk, seniors Andrew Harper and Owen Boggini will play at the top two spots for the Rams. Also playing with the ones will be Albertus Magnus' Ryan Sember, Emmanuel's Taylor Kieselback, RIC's Tyler Boisclair, and SJC's Brendan Donovan.
The lowest five scores will be named to the 2019 GNAC All-Conference Team, while the medalist will automatically be named the GNAC Golfer of the Year, and the lowest first-year score will be named the GNAC Rookie of the Year.
Last year at Blackstone National Golf Course in Sutton, Mass., Dundas, Parente, Match, Malloy, Boisclair and Boggini all collected All-GNAC accolades.
The tournament format will follow two-day stroke play championship. In the event of inclement weather, an 18-hole match will be sufficient to determine a team champion.
2019 GNAC Men's Golf Pre-Championship Poll
1. Johnson & Wales (6) - 61
2. Southern Maine (2) - 51
3. Suffolk - 46
4. UMass Dartmouth - 38
5. RIC - 36
6. Saint Joseph's Maine - 32
T7. Albertus Magnus - 12
T7. Emmanuel - 12
ABOUT BIDDEFORD-SACO CC
Since the early 1920s, the Biddeford-Saco Country Club has been one of the more popular golf clubs in the state of Maine. Located in Saco and Old Orchard Beach, the club boasts an 18-hole Donald Ross course, a beautiful clubhouse located in the refurbished original farmhouse that sat on the Kelly property, and one of the best driving ranges and practice facilities in the state.
Biddeford-Saco Country Club started out as a typical country club of the time, offering various activities as bowling, skating, tennis, shooting, and golf on the newly-designed course, of which only nine holes were originally built. The club evolved over time to more embrace golf and the other activities were dropped. Golf continued to grow in popularity and in the mid-1980s, renowned architect Brian Silva was hired to complete Ross' original design. The back nine was completed along with a renovation of the clubhouse in 1991 and the membership welcomed more members. With a premier location, a beautiful 18-hole course that hosted the Maine Amateur Championship in just its second year of completion and affordable rates, the membership soon swelled enough that a By-Law was enacted to limit the number of individual members to 500, a number which has been maintained since the early 1990s.
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.
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