Vikings Aim For Three-Peat Heading Into Coeur d'Alene
Edging Concordia by a stroke in last year's event, Western Washington enters the tournament with four players ranked within the GNAC's top-10 in terms of stroke average.
Edging Concordia by a stroke in last year's event, Western Washington enters the tournament with four players ranked within the GNAC's top-10 in terms of stroke average.

Friday, April 20, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington has one thing on its mind heading into the 2018 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships on April 23-24 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.


The Vikings, ranked No. 8 in the NCAA Division II West Region Rankings, look to achieve their third straight GNAC championship and ninth overall in program history. After taking the title over second-place Concordia by one stroke a year ago, Western Washington returns two golfers from its title-winning team in juniors Cody Roth and Michael Butler.

The Vikings have five of the GNAC’s top-10 golfers in terms of stroke average. Freshman phenom Brody Bonfilio leads the team and is second in the league with 73.3 strokes per round. Butler is seventh in the GNAC with a 74.2 stroke average while Roth and sophomore Ethan Casto are tied for eighth at 74.4.

Western Washington is peaking at the right time as it led all GNAC teams with a tie for third at the Mustang Intercollegiate two weeks ago. The Vikings pace the conference with a 294.9 stroke average and have five top-five team finishes along with 14 top-10 individual finishes this year.

Runners-up a year ago, Concordia hopes to make program history by capturing its first GNAC title. Hoping to replicate last year’s individual success, senior Nick Huff paced the Cavaliers’ with a fourth-place finish while senior Tanner Huddleston tied for 12th at the 2017 Championships. Concordia will also turn to junior transfer Braeden Campbell for a strong performance. He is one of three Cavs to play all seven tournaments this year and is fourth on the team with a 75.9 stroke average.

Concordia comes into the GNAC Championships having played just three spring tournaments. The Cavaliers’ best finish came in their most recent outing, the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational, where they placed fifth. They rank third in the GNAC with an average of 300 strokes per round.

Expect Simon Fraser to be in contention as the Clan return four of their five players from last year’s conference tournament. Throughout his four years with the Clan, senior Chris Crisologo has been one of the best players the GNAC has ever seen. Taking first-place in last year’s event, the two-time GNAC Player of the Year, has achieved three top-three finishes in as many GNAC Championships and led SFU to the team title in 2015. He also leads the league with a 70.4 stroke average and boasts a league-high six top-five finishes.

Joining Crisologo are sophomores Sy Lovan and Scott Kerr, who are third and fourth in the GNAC with stroke averages of 73.4 and 74. As a team, the Clan has achieved four top-five team finishes this year and took home the Western Washington Invitational by an 11-stroke margin. The Clan is second in the GNAC with a 295.1 stroke average and is ranked No. 6 in the NCAA Division II West Region Poll.

Coming off a third-place finish last year, Saint Martin’s will be led by junior Trevor Frisby, who finished in fifth place a season ago. Frisby has also been the Saints’ most consistent player all season as he leads the team with a 74.6 stroke average and two top-10 finishes.

Saint Martin’s saw its best finish of the season come at October’s Dennis Rose Invitational where it ended in fourth place. Along with Frisby, senior Andrew Raab finished within the top-10 to highlight the Saints’ efforts. Look for Raab to play a big part in SMU’s title challenge as his two years of championships experience will be a valuable asset.

In its most recent tournament, Montana State Billings came in second place at its own MSUB Yellowjacket Spring Invite. Sophomore Caleb Stetzner has seen no dropoff from a spectacular freshman campaign as he is among the GNAC leaders with a stroke average of 74. At the Yellowjacket Spring Invite, Stetzner placed second out of 31 competitors with a 1-over par 217. The Yellowjackets are averaging 305.7 strokes per round and have seen four players earn top-10 finishes this season.

Northwest Nazarene last won the conference title in 2014. This year, the Nighthawks are led by sophomore Henry Bernard’s 77.4 stroke average. Northwest Nazarene comes into the GNAC Championships brimming with confidence as they defeated the College of Idaho in a dual match earlier this week for a team title. Experience has been key for the Nighthawks this season as they are one of two GNAC teams to have five players play at least 20 rounds.