NIACC men's golf team set to compete at national tournament

NIACC's Ben Boerjan chips out of the sand at the regional tournament.
NIACC's Ben Boerjan chips out of the sand at the regional tournament.

FOLEY, Ala. - For the first time since 2011, the NIACC men's golf team will compete in the NJCAA Divsion II national tournament.

NIACC. which qualified for nationals by placing third at the NJCAA Region XI tournament in early May, begins play in the four-round tournament at the GlenLakes Golf Club on Monday.

Four individuals have played in the national tournament for the Trojans since 2011, but this is the first time the Trojans will compete in the team competition in seven years. The 2011 team placed 17th with a 327-316-310-325 - 1,278 at the Goose Pond Colony Golf Course in Scottsboro, Ala.

NIACC shot rounds of 309- 315 - 624 on May 5-6 at the Lake Panorama Golf Course in Panora to punch its ticket to the national tournament.

Josh Schaefer (Denver) and Ben Boerjan (St. Ansgar) led the Trojans with 74-77 - 151s. Also for the Trojans, Devin Koob (Plainfield) shot a 78-77 - 155, Jordan Voves (Cresco) shot a 83-84 - 167 and Anthony Emanuel (Calmar) shot a 89-85 - 174.

"The fact that they put it together when they had to is what stands out," NIACC coach Chris Frenz said. "This has been a very hard-working group and a very dedicated group but things just didn't click until the regional tournament.

"The four sophomores really stepped up and Ben Boerjan was really good at regionals."

Before the regional tournament, the lowest team round for the Trojans was a 322 at the NJCAA Region XI Preview meet at Lake Panorama on April 13. The Trojans' seven-round average in the spring before regionals was 332.1.

"I'm not sure i can put my figure on what made it come together other than the fact that I always knew we were good," Frenz said. "I believe their focus was much better that weekend. They had a purpose and a drive and they believed in themselves. Confidence is an amazing thing in golf."

Since qualifying for the national tournament and school out of session, Frenz said the Trojans have been on the course every day preparing for the upcoming four rounds of golf.

"This is a close knit grip of guys that enjoy each other's company," Frenz said. "While they've been maybe a little bored during the day when they're not on the course, i think they handled the two weeks off pretty well."

The Trojans will play a practice round on Sunday and begin play on par 72 course, which measures 6,912 yards, on Monday.

"I've talked to a few teams that have played it and they say it's pretty flat overall," Frenz said, "but there is somee trouble with water and bunkers especially on the finishing holes."

Frenz said the Trojans are looking forward to this week's challenge.

"Of course the goal is to win," the coach said. "But another goal would be to finish in the top 10.

"There are some great teams around the country in Division II junior college golf. A lot of these players here this week will be playing at the next level somewhere, including three of our own. These guys always represent NIACC with class and I expect nothing different this week."

On Monday, Voves will be the first to tee off on hole No. 10 at 7 a.m. Other tee times for the Trojans, also off No. 10, are Emanuel at 7:09 a.m.; Boerjan at 7:18 a.m.; Schaefer at 7:27 a.m. and Koob at 7:36 a.m. 

A total of 130 golfers will be participating with 21 teams eligible for the championship. There are 29 golfers playing as an individual, representing 22 more schools.