BELTON, Texas- Six UMHB golfers will be competing at the NCAA Div. III national championships May 11-14, as the NCAA announced the full tournament field for both the men’s and women’s championships on Monday afternoon.
The Crusader men’s golf team, led by ASC champion Ari Saldana, clinched an automatic bid on April 27 when it won the ASC Championship Tournament in Brownwood, defeating runner-up UT Dallas by nine strokes.
It marks the Cru’s first trip to the NCAA Championships since 2017, where UMHB placed 11th overall.
UMHB is the only ASC representative in the 37-team NCAA Championship field, though McMurry’s Lane Roye was selected to compete as an individual.
The Cru’s five-player lineup for nationals was released Monday, and is composed of Saldana, Nikolas Keratsopoulos, William Sammons, Luis Legarreta Jr and Kaden Treybig. Each of those five performed especially well throughout the season, as four of them, with the exception of Keratsopoulos, were named to the ASC’s All-Conference Team on April 28.
Even more remarkable is the fact that the Cru has achieved success behind the performances of one sophomore in Treybig, and four freshmen in Keratsopoulos, Legarreta Jr., Sammons and Saldana. The youth present on the roster has not held head coach Jordan Cox’s team back, as the mature group won four tournaments/matches during the 2020-21 season.
The NCAA Men’s Div. III National Championships will be contested in Wheeling, West Virginia on May 11-14. A total of 191 players will compete.
Though the UMHB women’s team did not earn an at-large team bid, freshman Sydney McConnell was selected to compete as an individual.
The Tyler, Texas native is the third UMHB women’s golfer to compete at the NCAAs as an individual.
McConnell made a statement at her first ASC Championship appearance on April 20 when she won the individual title, edging UT Dallas’ Lindy Patterson by one-stroke to finish at 151 in the two-day tournament.
Following her performance at the ASC Championship in Brownwood, McConnell was voted the conference’s Women’s Golfer of the Year and also Freshman of the Year. She led the Cru with a 77.67 stroke average and finished in the top ten in each of the nine events she competed in.
The NCAA Women’s Div. III National Championships are set to be held May 11-14 in Lansing, Michigan. 25 teams and six individuals will compete, as the field features 131 players.