MEN'S GOLF OPENS NCAA CENTRAL REGIONAL ON THURSDAY
OFF THE TEE
• The Sacramento State men’s golf team will make its first NCAA Div. I postseason appearance when it heads to the Central Regional in Norman, Okla. The tournament, which will be hosted by Oklahoma, will take place May 24-26 at the Jimmy Austin OU Golf Club.
• The Hornets earned the berth into the field after winning the America Sky Conference Championship by 42 strokes. Sacramento State is seeded 12th among the 14 teams in the regional field. The top five teams advance to the NCAA Championships at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
• The team will use the same lineup at the NCAA Central Regional that it used at the America Sky Championships. Cameron Rappleye will play at No. 1 followed by Jake Johnson, Grant Rappleye, Jordan Weir and Ryan Williams.
• Sacramento State will be paired with Arizona and San Diego during the opening round of the tournament.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Behind medalist Cameron Rappleye, the Hornets won the America Sky Championships in record fashion. The team stormed out to a first day lead, and never backed off, winning the tournament by 42 strokes. Despite cold, rainy and windy weather, the Hornets had four top eight finishers at the tournament which was held at Lake of Isles in North Stonington, Conn.
Rappleye shot 71-71-72-214 to finish at 2-under and claim his second victory of the year. The senior finished two strokes ahead of teammate Jordan Weir who was second at 74-70-72-216. Jake Johnson tied for fourth place and Ryan Williams finished eighth.
• Following the year five Hornets were honored by the America Sky Conference. Heading the list were Grant Rappleye and Jordan Weir who were both named to the first team. Grant averaged 74.06 while Weir averaged 73.41 and had a team-high five top 10 finishes in his 10 events.
• Cameron Rappleye and Jake Johnson were voted to the second team. Cameron ranked second on the team with a stroke average of 73.58 and finished first at the Wildcat Invitational and America Sky Championships. Johnson averaged 74.52 with three top five finishes.
• Men’s head coach Christopher Hall was also named the America Sky Conference Coach of the Year. Hall led the Hornets to the conference title and helped the team secure its first berth to an NCAA Div. I Regional.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
While the Hornets will be making their NCAA Div. I postseason debut at the Central Regional, the school is no stranger to the men’s golf championships. While competing in Div. II, Sacramento State qualified for the NCAA Championships 18 times from 1964-90. During that stretch, only Florida Southern and Cal State Northridge made more appearances at the event as each team qualified 19 times.
The Hornets’ best finish at the NCAA Div. II Championships came in 1964 where the team was third. Sacramento State also had two fourth-place finishes.
Individually, Bob E. Smith was the medalist at the 1966 NCAA Div. II Championship. Smith went on to compete on both the PGA and Champions tours.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Sacramento State earned the first automatic berth from the America Sky Conference to earn its trip to the NCAA Central Regional. The Hornets joined the conference for men’s golf in the 2008-09 year and have won two titles.
The conference is comprised of schools throughout the country spanning from Sacramento State in the West to Hartford in the East. The league also goes North to North Dakota and South to Texas-Pan American. Overall, there 12 schools which compete in the America Sky that hail from nine states (California, Texas, Connecticut, Utah, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, New York and Illinois).
Sacramento State has won two tournaments in each of the last two years. In 2011-12, the Hornets were victorious, by virtue of a tie-breaker, at the Wildcat Invitational in Layton, Utah. The team then blew away the field to win the America Sky Championship.
The previous year, Sacramento State won at the Purple & Red Invitational in Utah and the Lamkin Grip./Cal Poly Challenge in Arroyo Grande, Calif.