The NGU golf teams are heading into their seasons with high expectations of a Conference Carolinas Championship.
The men’s team doesn’t lack experience and that experience will be a key for the Crusaders. Senior Josh O’Neal will be the catalyst for the Crusaders. The 2013 NCCAA All-American and 2011 All-Conference star will be looked to as the leader for NGU this spring.
O’Neal’s wingmen this spring will be Juniors Sam Goodnight and Tucker MacDonald, who both picked up collegiate victories in the fall at the Rock Barn Invitational and the Anderson University Invitational respectively.
The men’s team will compete in three tournaments following spring break before competing in the Conference Carolinas Championships at Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center in Browns Summit, N.C. April 11-15.
The tournaments include the Barton Intercollegiate in Wilson, N.C. March 16-18, The Cliffs Intercollegiate in Travelers Rest from March 30 to April 1, and the Tennessee River Rumble Intercollegiate in Loudon, Tenn., April 6-8.
In their first tournament of the spring season, the Crusaders posted a top-10 finish, placing ninth among the 18 teams in the field at the Irish Creek Intercollegiate tournament.
Senior Josh O’Neal and Junior Tucker McDonald both finished the event with a two-day score of 152, giving them each a share of the overall 28th position. Juniors Sam Goodnight and Joshua Hopwood also tied each other in the event with a two-day total of 155, respectively.
Both Goodnight and Hopwood finished at a tie for 40th overall, while freshman Christian Constance rounded out the scoring for the team, posting a two-day total of 165, putting him at the 81st position overall.
The women’s team also has high expectations for the spring season.
Coming off its highest national ranking in school history, 60th in the nation according to Golfstat, the ladies team will expect to compete for the Conference Carolinas crown.
The team will be once again led by senior Denise Shirley. The 2012 All-Conference and NCCAA All-American will once again be looked to if the ladies are to succeed. Joining Shirley will be fellow senior Anna Padgett. Coming off two wins in the fall, Padgett will look to carry that over to the spring.
The final piece to the Lady Crusaders three-headed monster is junior AnnaLeis Dibert. The junior finished the fall season on a very high note, placing in the top 10 at the NCCAA National Championships.
The women will play host at the 2014 Cliffs Intercollegiate March 30–April 1, then return to the Agnes McAmis Memorial at Tusculum College April 7-8. The climax of the season will be Conference Carolinas Championship at the Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center in Browns Summit, N.C. April 11-15.
In the first event of the season for the women, the Crusaders finished eighth out of nine teams in the 54-hole TSYS Collegiate Classic.
Junior AnnaLeis Dilbert finished the event with a three-day total of 239, placing her at ninth overall; her third top-10 finish of the 2013-2014 season. Sophomore Lauren Childs posted her career best round at the tournament, shooting an 80 on the second day of the tournament.
The Crusaders are gearing up for a run at a conference championship this season and building a foundation for future success.