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For the second week in a row, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s golf team dominated its competition en route to claiming a 10-stroke victory at the 51st Annual Cecil Spadafora Invitational in Blairsville.
In similar fashion to last week’s competition, the Crimson Hawks built their mammoth lead on the first day by scoring a 274, 16 strokes better than second-place California University of Pennsylvania.
IUP cooled off on the second day, in part due to the weather, but played well enough to maintain its lead and finish with a total of 573.
California maintained second place and Adelphi University finished third.
The driving force behind the team’s performance was the duo of Kenneth Sames (sophomore, business) and Max Kirsch (freshman, biology/pre-med), who finished first and second, respectively.
It was Sames’ first collegiate victory, as he finished with 2-under 140. Concurrently, Kirsch notched his second straight second-place finish by scoring a 1-under 141.
He tied California’s Jordan Eck and Adelphi’s Ryan Snouffer.
“As an individual I play as hard as I can for my team and university, and if I win, I win,” Sames said. “I don’t really try to compete as individual. I’m more hoping to keep moving along as a team, but it is very nice getting a win at the home tournament.”
Zack Kempa (senior, marketing) was next for IUP, tying for 11th with a 3-over 145. Jack Owen (junior, sports administration) followed Kempa with a score of 6–over 148, tying him for 18th.
Finally, Brady Moran (freshman, safety science) finished in a tie for 34th place with a 9-over 151, while Brett Geiser (sophomore, management) notched a 12-over 154, tying him for 48th to close out the competition for IUP.
“It was such a great win to get our confidence up going into regionals because the teams that we are going to be facing in two weeks at regionals were all there for the most part,” Geiser said.
The Crimson Hawks will look to sustain their play when the NCAA Super Regionals roll around next month.
“Everything is coming together right before regionals, which is what we needed,” Kirsch said.
Sames noted the team’s resiliency after having a lackluster start to the season.
“Even though we got off to a rough start this year, our team will never give up until we get what we want, and that is a national championship,” Sames said. “I wouldn’t want to be part of another team.
“Our team has a lot of bond and character, and we expect to keep it that way.”
Regionals will take place May 5-7 in Charleston, W.Va.
Subsequently, the Division II NCAA Championships will be played May 19-23 in Allendale, Mich.
IUP won the Super Regionals last year, winning by five strokes over Wilmington University.
Kempa claimed the individual title by shooting a 1-over 214.