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Campus golfers finish second and third in conference championship

PSUAC golf
Cody Dinger accepts second-place medal from conference AD John Fritz.
10/12/2011 —
 
CODY DINGER AND ALEX BAKER EARN
PSUAC ALL CONFERENCE HONORS

MATT KNAPP NAMED USCAA ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
 
Penn State New Kensington sophomore Cody Dinger (West Shamokin) shot a final round 80 Monday to finish runner-up, 79-80-159,  at the Penn State University Athletic Conference golf championships at the Penn State Blue Course in State College, Pa.

Lions sophomore Alex Baker (St. Joseph’s) posted an 84 and took third place honors, 76-84-160,  in the individual championship.  Both players were named to the PSUAC All Conference team. Dinger's second place finish was the second best PSUAC finish by a New Kensington player. John Hook won the conference individual title in 2007, and Adam Stawski was runner-up in 2009.

Dinger and Baker's conference tournament scores matched their regular season results. The pair averaged 79.6 during the year. Dinger's first round score of 79 matched his collegiate career-best and put him in fourth place overall in the PSUAC. Baker opened the tourney with his collegiate career-best of 76 and held the first round lead. A year ago, Baker edged out Dinger for the team lead in the tournament.

"The scores we posted mirrored those of the regular season," said Bill Woodard, in his tenth season as coach. "I know that the guys are disappointed in their own efforts, but I'm proud of what they did in the tournament and throughout the year."

As a team, New Kensington took fourth place in the PSUAC with a two-day total of 684. Senior Nathan Vertosic (St Joseph’s), 89-93-182 and senior Matt Knapp (Kiski Area), 96-87-183 rounded out the Lions' scoring. Penn State Hazleton won the title with a 655 total. Hazelton’s Nick Tristani was medalist with 79-76-155.

In the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national golf championships that ran concurrently with the PSUAC championships, Dinger and Baker finished 16th and 17th, respectively. Tommy Stirling of Southern Maine College won the national title with a 72-68-140.  Lindenwood University won the team competition with a 303-294-597 total. New Kensington was ninth in the 15-team field.

The USCAA national golf championships featured 10 Penn State campuses and 11 teams from Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Virginia.

In addition to crowning its team and individual champions, the USCAA tournament committee announced its Academic All-America team. Knapp, a business administration major with a 3.95 grade-point average, earned a berth on the exclusive team. The 44-year-old Army veteran is the fourth New Kensington student-athlete and the first golfer to be recognized nationally for his academic prowess. The other Academic All America members from the campus are Christy Heasley, women's volleyball (2007), Jeremy Hurt, men's basketball (2008 and 2009) and Kayla Smail, women's volleyball (2009).

On the season, the team finished third in the PSUAC-West with a 9-8 record. Overall, the New Kensington Lions were 9-7.

For New Kensington season results, visit
http://www.nk.psu.edu/StudentLife/Athletics/28435.htm

For photos of the golf team, visit
http://psnk.smugmug.com/Sports/Golf-Season-2011/19530627_J4wJF4#1529419989_dwrSDVc
 


FINAL ROUND PSUAC TEAM SCORES
Penn State Hazelton 3331-324-655
Penn State Mont Alto 326-333-659
Penn College 346-326-671
Penn State New Kensington 340-344-684
Penn State Wilkes-Barre 353-347-700
Penn State Schuylkill 360-368-728
Penn State Greater Allegheny 370-362-732

PSUAC TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
Nick Tristani (Hazleton) 79-76-155
Cody Dinger (PSNK) 79-80-159
Alex Baker (PSNK) 76-84-160
Chase King (Mont Alto) 80-82-162
Pat Blaney (Hazleton) 80-83-163
Alex Howe (Penn College) 77-86-16

FINAL ROUND USCAA TEAM SCORES
Lindenwood University 303-294-597
Rochester College 302-316-618
Apprentice School 316-316-332
New Hampshire Technical 312-335-647
Penn State Hazelton 331-324-655
Penn State Mont Alto 326-333-659
Penn College 346-326-671
SUNY-ESF 331-341-672
Penn State New Kensington 340-344-684
SUNY-Canton 349-347-696
Penn State Wilkes-Barre 353-347-700
Penn State Schuylkill 360-368-728
Penn State Greater Allegheny 370-362-732
Southern Virginia University 375-364-739
University of Dallas 357-WD

USCAA TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
Tommy Stirling (Sou. Maine) 72-68-140
Bo Cook ( Lindenwood) 75-69-144
Ben Hunter (Apprentice) 73-75-148
Khris Bartling (Rochester) 72-78-150
Justin Robinson (Lindenwood) 73-77-150

USCAA ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN
Matt Knapp, Penn State New Kensington

 
Cody Baker            Matt Knapp                    Alex Baker                             Nate Vertosick


Matt Knapp, Alex Baker, Cody Dinger and Nate Vertosick helped lead the golf team to a
ninth-place finish in the national championships.

 

PSUAC GOLF CONFERENCE
West Division
Greater Allegheny, Fayette, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Penn College, Shenango
East Division
Abington, Brandywine, Hazelton, Lehigh Valley, Schuylkill, Wilkes-Barre

For more information contact Bill Woodard at 724-334-6069.

 

 

2011 OUTLOOK
VETERAN SQUAD POISED FOR RUN AT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Youth must be served, says the old English proverb. It is an aphorism that is beneficial to the Penn State New Kensington golf team; just not this year.

Anchored by six upperclassmen, four returning starters and a pair of former lettermen, a veteran New Kensington Lions team is poised to make a run at the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship.

Unlike a year ago, when freshmen dominated the roster, and inexperience and uncertainty overshadowed skill, the 2011 squad oozes talent, confidence and maturity. To borrow a phrase from former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver, the team has "deep-depth," and is solid from top to bottom.

"We have a core group of five players who have the ability to go low at each match," said Bill Woodard, in his tenth year as head coach. "Shooting in the 70s is no longer an achievement, it's an expectation."

The top two seeds for the New Kensington Lions will be a rota of sophomores, Alex Baker (St. Joseph's High School) and Cody Dinger (West Shamokin). Both can consistently shoot in the mid-70s and will share the top spot throughout the season.

Baker was the New Kensington's top finisher at the 2010 United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championships with a two-day total of 84-82-166. He was the team's most consistent player, averaging 83 strokes per round with a low of 82. Dinger was the scoring leader during the regular season, averaging 82.6 while posting rounds of 79, 80 and 81. Both have a nice touch around the green.

"Alex and Cody are aggressive long-hitters whose short games help them recover from stray shots," said Woodard, who doubles as alumni and public relations specialist at the campus."Now that they are more experienced, their course management skills are moving to the forefront, and they aren't relying solely on strength off the tee. They are thinking their way around the course and that will lead to lower scores."

Senior Matt Knapp moves up one spot to the No. 3 player. Last year, his first on the team, Knapp had an 86 average. Since then, he has honed his game and is developing into a player who can break 80 regularly. The 44 year-old Kiski Area High School product is the elder statesman on the team. Prior to entering the business administration program in 2008, Knapp served 17 years in the Army.

"Matt has good length off the tee and is handy around the green," said Woodard. "He doesn’t get rattled by a bad shot and can recover to keep it no worse than bogey. He can  go low at any time, and that is what the team needs to make a run at the conference title."

Settled in at the four slot is senior Nathan Vertosick (St. Joseph's, CCAC-Boyce). Vertosick had a career-low of 83 a year ago and is closing in on his first round in the 70s.

"Nate would be a three on other teams," said Woodard. "He provides insurance in the back of the line-up and can step-up if some of the other players falter."

Battling for the last two rungs on the team ladder is senior Bob Adams (Highlands) and sophomore Nicola DeIuliis (Valley). Adams was a member of the 2007 team that finished second in the Penn State University Athletic Conference championships. DeIuliis is progressing under the tutelage of assistant coach John Mandak and will be spotted in the line-up throughout the season.

Mandak, owner of Valos Candy Co. in Arnold, Pa., begins his second season as volunteer swing coach. He has a keen eye for technique and works with the players to correct swing faults. In addition, he offers players sound advice on executing a variety of shots.  Ron Land, associate professor of engineering at the campus, has served as assistant head coach since 2000.

Last year, Penn State New Kensington finished 10th in the national tournament and fifth in the conference tournament. During the regular season, the team finished third in the PSUAC-West with a 9-10 record.

The New Kensington Lions open the season at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at the Shenango Classic at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage, Pa. The tournament features all six teams from the PSUAC –West division--host Penn State Shenango, Penn College, Mont Alto, Greater Allegheny and Fayette.

The team is entered into six tournaments, highlighted by a home match, the Bernie Guss Invitational, at the Links at Spring Church in Apollo. The postseason, Oct. 10-11, features the PSUAC conference and United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championships at the Penn State Blue Course in State College.
In a collegiate golf tournament, team scores are determined by the total strokes. Teams seed players one through six and group them with the opponent's seeded players. The best four scores out of the six are counted toward the total.

Penn State New Kensington competes in the PSUAC and the USCAA. The PSUAC conference comprises 15 teams from Penn State campuses across the state. The USCAA is a national organization that is geared to provide athletic opportunities to small colleges -- those with enrollments of less than 1,500. Established in 2001, the USCAA was incorporated to provide an opportunity for members to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of similar size and athletic programs. Headquartered in Newport News, Va., the organization has more than 50 member institutions in 24 states, stretching from Maine to California. New Kensington joined the USCAA in 2005.

2010 RECORD: 9-10 PSUAC; 5th Place

PSUAC GOLF CONFERENCE
West Division
Greater Allegheny, Fayette, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Penn College, Shenango
East Division
Abington, Brandywine, Hazelton, Lehigh Valley, Schuylkill, Wilkes-Barre

For more information contact Bill Woodard at 724-334-6069.

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