The Fighting Scots’ men’s and women’s golf teams traveled to Mansfield, Ohio over the weekend to participate in the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament. Both teams battled it out with the rest of the conference at the Westbrook Country Club, looking to recover after their previous tournaments did not end favorably. However, there was everything to play for on both the men’s and women’s side as the tournament teed off on Thursday.
On the men’s side, Connor Mitchell ’24, carried the torch for the Scots on day one, posting a score of 79, good for a tie for 10th, after an impressive first day. Tyler Hilbert ’24 was just a stroke behind Mitchell. Meanwhile, Noah Jackman ’25, Ben Foltz ’22 and Krishang Nayak ’25 posted scores of 82, 89 and 90, respectively. Hilbert commented on the course’s difficulty, saying, “Over the course of three days, the golf course played harder than any course I have ever played.”
The following two days of the tournament would not see many of the Scots’ men fare well and only two of the men’s golfers, Foltz and Nayak, would see their scores improve. Foltz saw a drastic improvement on his score as he posted a 76 on day two, a 13-stroke turnaround from his previous day of competition. On the final day, Foltz posted a modest 82, featuring five straight pars, which placed him in a tie with teammate Hilbert for 31st place on the weekend. Hilbert shot an 82 and 85 on the final two days with five pars on the back-nine and eight total in his final round. In a true showing of togetherness, Jackman and Mitchell finished a stroke behind their two teammates for a tie in 33rd place, posting identical scores of 83 for Jackman and 83 and 86 for Mitchell. Nayak improved on his day one performance with scores of 87 and 84, but would finish in a tie for 38th place.
Kenyon dominated the men’s field, winning by 24 strokes as Denison and Wittenberg rounded out the top three. Kenyon golfer Nick Lust ’22 won the championship tournament by nine strokes as the only golfer to finish under par. Despite a rough ending, Hilbert focused on moving forward, “I’m looking forward to the process of improving over the summer and then coming back to tee it up and compete alongside my teammates again.”
Ben Foltz ’22 had a terrific experience as a member of the golf team. “The best part about being on the Wooster golf team is just that: the team. As I am on my way out, I am realizing how amazing it is to be a part of something much larger than yourself. So many people care about our performance and knowing this makes me want to play even better. I have loved being a member of the Wooster golf team and know the team will be on to great things in the years to come!”
At the end of day one, the women’s team sat in fourth place after posting a score of 385 through the first round. Friday saw only one golfer post a score under 80 meanwhile six finished under 90 as the course proved to get the better of the players. Melissa Burtscher ’24 shot an 88 to finish the first day tied for fifth place with an outside shot at the title. Kayla Audette ’22 placed 14th with a score of 94, thanks to a trio of pars. Ally Siewert ’25, making her debut at the NCAC Championships, ended day one with a score of 101, good for 21st place, while teammates Meghan Wright ’22 and Riley Thorr ’23 followed just a stroke behind at 102. Denison, the favorite coming into the day, held a 35-stroke lead on the second place DePauw Tigers.
As for the Wooster women’s team, their fourth place finish offered some optimism moving forward, as they were 15 strokes off a podium finish. Siewert vaulted into the top 15 with a 14-stroke improvement from Friday and Burtscher delivered again with another 88 on the day. Wright also shot 10 strokes better than Friday to card a 92, while Thorr improved her score by seven strokes, to finish three strokes behind Wright. Audette regressed slightly, but her score was supplemented by the rest of the team’s performance as she finished in the top 20 on the day. Wooster’s Saturday performance would put them just 11 strokes behind Allegheny and a coveted third place finish. The work wouldn’t be easy as Burtscher echoed Hilbert’s thoughts on the challenging course, “Westbrook Country Club is a difficult course. It looks straightforward on most holes from the tees but the rough is thick and the greens are the most difficult I have ever played.”
Then came Championship Sunday, and the Fighting Scots were ready for the challenge ahead of them. Behind stellar performances from the whole team, Wooster turned in a 351. Meanwhile Allegheny shot a measly 364, giving Wooster the third place finish by just two strokes. Sunday saw Audette and Wright turn in their best performances of the weekend with scores of 84 and 90, while Siewert and Brutscher shot scores of 88 and 89. Siewert and Audette finished 13th and 14th, while earning honorable mention All-NCAC honors.
Brutscher finished seventh, earning second-team All-NCAC honors and recording the second-highest finish at the conference championships in program history. Her incredibly consistent play helped the Scots claim third place as she posted scores of 88, 88 and 89. Reflecting on the weekend, she said, “The best part about the NCAC Championships is the competition. This year we were down 11 strokes to Allegheny entering the third day and we fought our way back to beat them and take third. Every player and every hole are important.”
The nationally-ranked Denison team took home the championship as they dominated the field, winning by 78 strokes and finishing with the top four golfers of the weekend and five of the top six, as they were eight strokes away from a clean sweep.
Congratulations to the women’s golf team on tying the highest finish in program history and the men’s golf team on finishing another great year!