(Courtesy Doug DeBiase, CACC Associate Commissioner)
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 2018-19 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's golf season got underway over Labor Day Weekend. Teams will be using the early portion of September to prepare for the 2018 CACC Golf Championship on Sept. 29-30, Oct. 1, at Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del.
The first CACC school to get the season underway was Goldey-Beacom College, as the Lightning took part in the Glade Springs Intercollegiate on Sept. 3-4. All nine schools are scheduled to compete in at least one tournament prior to the start of the CACC Championship. Felician University begins its season on Sept. 9-10 at the Franklin Pierce University Fall Invitational.
The CACC has been one of the top conferences in the sport of men's golf at the Division II level over the last several years and has had a great run in NCAA Atlantic/East Regionals during that time. The conference is on a run of two-straight years where either a team or individual has won their respective title at the regional. Dominican College claimed the team regional championship in 2017, while Concordia College's Minwoo Park won the individual regional crown in 2018. Wilmington University has also been at the top of the mountain at the regional since 2012, as the Wildcats have claimed a pair of team titles in 2012 and 2015.
The 2018 CACC Championship will get underway on Saturday, Sept. 29, with the practice rounds at Deerfield, while the actual competition will begin a day later with the first round on Sunday, Sept. 30. The final round of the championship will be staged on Monday, Oct. 1. Wilmington will serve as the host school for this year's championship.
The following are notes on each CACC men's golf team entering the season, courtesy of the respective institution's Director of Athletic Communications:
CHESTNUT HILL COLLEGE
For the second straight year, Chestnut Hill College adds a substantial freshman class as three first-year student-athletes join juniors, Shawn Mayer (Brick, N.J.) and Taylor Mezzatesta (Forest Hill, Md.) to form the Griffins' five-man roster. The Scarlet and Gold placed fifth (5th of 9) at the 2017 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Golf Championship with 635 stokes (310-325, 635, +67). Mezzatesta finished the season as the Griffins' top striker with an average round of 79.4 stokes. Mayer was recognized with the team's 2017-2018 Coach's Award.
Team returns Minwoo Park, the program's first NCAA Division II Ping All-America Honorable Mention honoree ... With Park winning the individual title at the NCAA Atlantic/East Super Regional and Evan Hong claiming the individual title at the CACC Championships last season, Concordia became the first team in the league to claim the solo titles at both events since Wilmington in 2011.
The 2017-2018 Team qualified for NCAA Atlantic/East Super Regional for second consecutive season and finished 14th ... Team features 9 returners, including All-Region and All-CACC picks junior Carlos Armas Stenner and senior Hunter Wescott under CACC Coach of the Year, Keith Prokop ... Other notable returners: senior Daniel Parker.
Felician director of athletics Ben DiNallo Jr. is the only coach the golf program has ever known, now entering his 14th season. Junior Jake Storako and senior Justin Keiser are the only two returnees, with Storako and the Golden Falcons both looking to make a run at their first regional berth.
Junior Shea Murphy (Wilmington, DE) has been a beyond impact player and hopes to continue that pace this season. He averaged 81.22 last season over 18 rounds, broke 80 five times and was the league's Men's Golf winner of the Top XVI Award for having the highest GPA at the site of that sport's championship. Senior Ryan Quigg (Sykesville, MD) has been a solid competitor for three years and is looking for a strong final campaign. He averaged 82.2 over 20 rounds, broke 80 eight times and was 36th at the CACC Championship. Sophomore Corbin Babyak (Wallenpaupack, PA) last season broke 80 seven times over his 20 rounds. He closed tied for 23rd with 161 at the CACC Championship with 161, tied for 26th at the Charger Challenge and shot 77 and 79 over the first two rounds to end tied for 41st at The Trojan.
Nicholas Nguyen '18 is joining the coaching staff as an assistant coach after leading the Rams in scoring average in 2017-18. Jayson Gonzalez-Adams owns the top returning scoring average from a year ago and is one of four seniors on the nine-person squad
Post returns All-CACC and Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-American Scholar Mike Erickson. He finished 7th at CACC Championship and led Post with 75.60 average w/ three top-10 finishes ... Eagles who are looking to return to NCAA Atlantic/East Regional for second year in a row, 12th time overall, bring back five of top six scorers from last season ... Coach Sokol is excited about his three newcomers and looks for all of them to contribute right away.
UNIVERSITY OF THE SCIENCES
USciences returns seven golfers from its 2017-18 roster, including its top three in scoring average: Mitchel Storb (83.5), Austin Staiano (84.3) and Andy Ring (85.9) ... USciences' round of 323 in the first round of the Fall 2017 CACC Championship was its best-ever round at the CACC Championship dating back to its first CACC Championship in 2016, breaking the previous record of 337 set in the second round in 2009 ... The Devil's two-day total of 671 at the Fall 2017 CACC Championship was also its best-ever total, breaking the previous record of 686 set in 2015 ... Austin Staiano became the first Devil – and just the second in program history – since Eric Jones in 2015 to card consecutive sub-80 rounds at the CACC Championship with back-to-back 79s.
The biggest change in the Wildcats this season will be at the helm of the team, as Harry Jennings is stepping aside as the head coach for the season. Long-time assistant Mark Hall will take over the program, looking to win its ninth straight CACC Championship in the fall. The Wildcats return four-year player and reigning All-CACC, All-CACC Tournament, and PING All-East Region member Ryan Rucinski. Rucinski finished second at the Super Regional Tournament and tied for 63rd overall at the National Championship. He will be joined by Super Regional participants Enrique Valverde and Matthew Kettleson, as well as CACC Tournament performer Braden McKay.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), Nyack College, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.