The WWU men’s golf team dominated the 2018-19 GNAC All-Conference team. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Dominate 2018-19 GNAC All-Conference Selections
April 25, 2019
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University men’s golf team dominated the 2018-19 Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Conference team, with a record six first-team selections.
In addition to landing six players as first-team selections, Jordan Lee was selected as the conference Player and Freshman of the Year and sixth-year head coach Luke Bennett earned his third GNAC Coach of the Year award.
Seniors Cody Roth, Michael Butler, Nick Sparling, junior Ethan Casto, sophomore Brody Bonfilio andLee were all selected First Team All-GNAC after leading the Vikings to the ninth GNAC team title in program history. WWU is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in both the Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll and the Golfstat Relative Team Rankings. WWU captured the GNAC Championships on Tuesday with a 15-stroke victory and will be making its 21st consecutive trip to the NCAA II Regional Championships.
“I am extremely proud of the team’s work this season. Their work ethic is second-to-none and they push and encourage each other on a daily basis. It is an honor to coaches this team,” said Bennett. “These are honors that reach the whole team, as the teammates back home are a big reason for their success.”
2018-19 GNAC Men’s Golf All-Conference Selections:
Jordan Lee – First Team All-GNAC, Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year
Cody Roth – First Team All-GNAC
Michael Butler – First Team All-GNAC
Nick Sparling – First Team All-GNAC
Ethan Casto – First Team All-GNAC
Brody Bonfilio – First Team All-GNAC, GNAC Championships Medalist
Luke Bennett – GNAC Coach of the Year
Lee (Tacoma, WA/Bellarmine Prep) leads the team and the GNAC with a 72.07 scoring average (+0.28 to par). He tied for 2nd at the GNAC Championships with a 54-hole score of 2-under-par 211. The freshman has played in all 10 tournaments and 29 rounds this season, tying for the team lead with 16 rounds of par or better. He enters the NCAA Championships ranked No. 41 in the NCAA II Golfstat player rankings and is a leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year.
Lee becomes WWU’s sixth all-time selection as GNAC Player of the Year, and first since 2013. He joins Jake Koppenberg (2008-09), Xavier Dailly (2010), Dylan Goodwin (2011), Nick Valeria (2012) and Jake Webb (2013). He is also the fourth Viking to be selected as GNAC Freshman of the Year, joining Thomas Jun (2008), Butler (2016) and Bonfilio (2018).
Roth (Bellingham, WA) became a two-time selection to the GNAC All-Conference team, earning second-team honors in 2017-18. Roth tied for 7th at the 2019 GNAC Championships at 3-over-par 216 and has a season stroke average of 72.97 (+1.17 to par).
Butler (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) missed the GNAC Championships earlier this week with an injury, but put together a solid regular season with the second-best scoring average on the team at 72.62 (+0.73 to par). Butler recorded 11 rounds of par or better and had five top-10 finishes. He was a second-team All-GNAC selection in both 2015-16 and 2017-18.
Sparling (Dublin, OH/Dublin Coffman) has been a steady player for the Vikings playing in all 10 tournaments, tying for the team lead with 16 rounds of par or better and is 3rd with a season scoring average of 72.55 (+0.76 to par). He is ranked No. 48 in the Golfstat Division II player rankings heading into the NCAA Regional Championships.
Casto (Snohomish, WA) had a strong end to the season winning the Mustang Intercollegiate with a record-breaking performance of 15-under-par and tied for 9th at the GNAC Championships. He has a scoring average of 72.86 (+1.07 to par) to rank fourth on the team. Casto was a First Team All-GNAC selection as a sophomore in 2017-18 after winning individual medalist honors at the GNAC Championships.
Bonfilio (Boise, ID/Bishop Kelly) was an automatic selection to GNAC All-Conference Team after winning individual medalist honors at the 2019 GNAC Championships. A late addition to the lineup, Bonfilio led wire-to-wire to claim the GNAC title at 3-under-par 210. Bonfilio was also a First Team All-GNAC selection and the Freshman of the Year in 2017-18.
Bennett earned his third GNAC Coach of the Year award after leading the Vikings to a record-breaking 2018-19 season. He was also voted the conference Coach of the Year in 2015-16 and 2016-17 when WWU won back-to-back conference titles. Heading into the NCAA II West/South Central Regional Championships, WWU has won six of the 10 tournaments and has a team scoring average of 286.69 (-0.48 to par). The Vikings have recorded a program-record 20 rounds of par or better (out of 29 rounds), including a string of eight consecutive heading into the regional. Bennett, a former Viking All-American from 2002-06, took over as head coach of the men’s program in 2013-14 and now oversees both the men’s and women’s programs.
2018-19 GNAC MEN’S GOLF ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Here is a complete look at the 2018-19 GNAC Men’s Golf All-Conference Team, with the Vikings dominating the team with six of the eight first-team selections:
The Vikings will find out their seed in the NCAA Division II West/South Central Regional Championships tomorrow (Friday, April 26) at 3 pm PT. The regional championships will be played May 9-11 at The Ledges Golf Club in St. George, Utah. The 20-team field will consist of 10 teams each from the West and South Central Region, with the top four teams advancing to the national championships May 20-24 in Daniels, West Virginia.
ABOUT WWU MEN’S GOLF
The WWU men’s golf team has an incredible streak of advancing to the NCAA Championships in each of the 20 seasons the program has competed at the NCAA Division II level dating back to the 1998-99 season, including a 3rd-place finish at the 2013 national championship. The program has produced 17 All-Americans and has won 9 of 12 Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships since the tournament debuted in 2008, including the 2019 title. The Vikings have also featured the GNAC Championships individual medalist in 8 of 12 tournaments, including 2018 champion Ethan Casto and 2019 champion Brody Bonfilio.
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