There are only five National Championship trophies given out in NCAA Division II men’s spring sports, and Wilmington University teams had two of them squarely in their sights this year. Both the Wildcat golf team and the baseball squad won their respective regional tournaments, earning them the right to compete for national supremacy.
Both teams traveled to North Carolina in May for their national tournaments.
The golfers took to the course in Conover, N. C., on May 18 to vie with 20 of the nation’s best. This was the Wildcats’ fourth appearance in a national championship, and they posted their best team round ever at the national level, shooting a 295 in the second round to slide into 14th place overall. They finished the three-round tournament in 16th place, missing the cut of being in the Top Eight to advance on to match play and a chance at the National Championship.
“I couldn’t be happier for our guys,” said Head Coach Harry Jennings, who was named Golf Coaches Association of America East Region Coach of the Year. “They’ve had the talent all year long and they shot the lowest round that we’ve ever shot at this level. Now the goal is to break into the Top Eight and finish out the week. We’re right there. We’re so close, and now recruits know that if they become a Wildcat they are fighting for a national championship.
The baseball team was up next, competing against eight of the best teams at the U. S. Baseball National Training Center in Cary, N. C., beginning on May 23. This was the first time the Wildcats had reached the nationals, and unfortunately they ran into a couple of hot teams. They lost their first game, to Catawba, by a single run, 3-2, and then were eliminated by Angelo State in a 5-0 shutout.
Despite the losses, Head Coach Brian August, who was American Baseball Coaches Association East Region Coach of the Year, had nothing but praise for his squad. “We’ve been knocking on the door for several years now,” he said. “And I couldn’t be happier for this core group of guys to break through and win an East Region Championship. They have been to the Regionals all four years they’ve been here and to finally break through and reach the National Finals is outstanding. The results of this season are already showing by the extra interest in the program across the board.”
Director of Athletics Linda Andrzjewski said that the combined showing of the two teams was a special accomplishment. “I think a goal of every athletic director is to have one team reach the National Championship during the year,” she said. “We had two teams accomplish that in the spring season. The entire Athletics Department and University as a whole were ecstatic during both teams’ runs during May.” WU