On April 25 the golf team won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships for the fifth year in a row.
By winning the championship, they got an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships being held Tuesday through Friday at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.
“Obviously I am happy how the season turned out,” head coach Eric Riehle said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but the guys stepped up.”
After placing third at SCIAC No. 4 in Pasadena, the Leopards found themselves in second place.
After the tournament they came in first place in SCIAC No. 5 at Tierra Rejada Golf Club in Moorpark on April 17.
The Leopards then came back for the SCIAC Championship on April 25 where they scored 571 to gain first place and the SCIAC Championship.
Senior Eric Bunge finished the tournament second overall with a score of 140. Junior Andrew Roque and freshman Josh Haynes both helped contribute to the win, each finishing with a score of 143.
Both Haynes and Roque took third place in the tournament, which gave La Verne three out of the four top spots in the tournament.
Junior Nick Ericson finished the tournament with a score of 145 to place sixth in the tournament. Seniors Matt Bernal and Kevin Smith finished with scores of 152 and 155.
“We did a really great job this season,” Bunge said. “We came together and stepped up in the last few events, preparation was key to us winning.”
“This season was a lot of fun, everyone improved as players and came closer as friends,” Bernal said.
“It’s nice that the school has a good streak going,” Riehle said. “It brings recognition to the school, and proves that we are a contender year in and year out.”
“Our season is not over, we want to win the national championship,” Bernal said. “There are going to be a lot of good teams there, so we have to play really well and make good decisions. Hopefully the outcome will come in our favor.”
La Verne is currently ranked No. 6 nationally in Division III. The Leopards will face teams such as Texas Lutheran and St. John’s Minnesota in the national championships.
“Winning SCIAC really meant a lot for all of us who are seniors,” Bunge said. “Our goal is now to win the national championships.”
“We found something in our preparation in the last two events, we have a good game plan before we go into the tournament,” Riehle said.
The Leopards have appeared in the national championships 11 times, most recently last year.
“We are all in a positive state of mind right now, our season is progressing at the right time,” Roque said. “We all feel great and are striving to be better and better.”
Cheryl Regan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.