by PETE WATKINS,
Winona State Athletics
In March, men’s golf coaches from around the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) picked Winona State University (WSU) as the team to beat in the conference in 2021.
On Sunday, April 18, the Warriors proved them right, winning the NSIC Championship in dramatic fashion and earning qualification as a team to the NCAA Division II post-season.
The Warriors found themselves in the lead after day one of the NSIC Championships, held at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Kansas City, Mo. Day two saw Winona State fall back into a tie for second with the University of Sioux Falls, as Bemidji State surged to the front, largely behind play of Chris Swenson, the Beavers’ standout, who ended up with medalist honors.
However, WSU worked back to the top of the NSIC on the third and final day, with Matthew Chandler, Abraham Elmore and Markus Iwerbo all earning top-15 finishes. In addition, Bennett Thomas and Matt Turner finished in a tie for 23rd, a closely matched lineup that ultimately gave Winona State the win.
Winona State was one of only two teams to have their five selections in the top-25 of the field at the end of the tournament, with USF also claiming that honor. The Warriors top three finishers; Chandler, Elmore and Iwerbo, finished among the top 11 overall.
The Warriors were able to peak as a team in round three to edge Bemidji State by one stroke and win its second straight NSIC Men’s Golf Championship. Winona State delivered team rounds of 301-294-288=883 (+31), allowing them to claim the program’s 15th NSIC Men’s Golf Championship and second consecutive title.
The 2021 NSIC Men’s Golf Championship caps a regular season in which the Warriors sought out and performed against some of the top NCAA Division II program in the country. WSU competed at several NCAA championship caliber competitions this spring, including the Northeastern State Invitational, the Washburn Invitational and The Mule, a top tournament hosted by the University of Central Missouri.
With the NSIC victory, the Warriors captured an automatic bid to the NCAA Central/Midwest Regional. The event will also be held at Shoal Creek Golf Club, and will be hosted by William Jewell College and the Kansas City Sports Commission. Winona State will compete in the NCAA Central/Midwest Regional tournament held on May 6-8.