The fall portion of the 2014-1015 Dalton State men’s golf program is over and the Roadrunners are currently ranked 14th nationally via Golfstats and 15th in the Golf Coaches Association of America rankings.
Great recruiting, some of the best golf courses in the world and the allure of attending a low cost school and helping to develop a championship caliber golf program have helped Dalton State Director of Golf Ben Rickett in his work attracting high caliber student athletes who excel both on and off the links.
Dalton State’s men’s golf started last season with a program that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not only did they compete well, they let it be known that you can participate in sports and do well in the classroom.
The 2013-2014 team even won the Chick-Fil-A Invitational.
NAIA rules prohibit new member schools from competing in post season play or to be voted into the national rankings, but the Golf Coaches Association of America had another way of recognizing the Roadrunners.
Senior Tyler Mitchell of Chatsworth was named an Academic All American and the team was honored as an Academic All American Team.
This season’s men’s golf team has competed in four fall events featuring many of the best teams in the NAIA and NCAA D-II. They have accumulated a record of 61 wins and 13 losses (78.7%).
The remarkable accomplishment has been done with just three players returning from last fall’s team.
Chase Jones, a redshirt junior from Chatsworth (GA); Levi Nix, a junior from Bluffton (SC) by way of Lafayette (GA) and Anthony D’Angelo, a redshirt junior from Gulfport (MS) return from the 2013-2014 team.
“I have been very pleased with the improvements that the returning students have made during the semester,” said Rickett.
Four new players have added depth to an already impressive lineup.
Sophomores Sean Elliott and Max Bruck were enrolled in class the previous year and even practiced with the team. Elliott, a Westfield (NJ) native and Bruck, from Frauenkirchen (Austria) are both marketing majors with plenty of golf experience under their belts.
Vancouver (Canada) native Austin Hughes transferred from the University of Northwood Texas. Dalton Johnson is a true freshman from Mary Persons High School in Forsyth (GA).
“I am very happy with the impact that these four have made on the team and I like the direction the program is headed,” said Rickett.
“We have had a very promising fall getting to see the depth of this team and I like the way that the program is heading,” Rickett added. “We’ve played the National Championship venue this fall and we would like our 2015 season to end there, but there are some improvements that need to be made over the offseason.”
Two Roadrunners are currently ranked in the top 100 NAIA golfers in the nation. Elliott is ranked at number six and Jones is 67th.
School records were also broken this fall.
Elliott shot a six under par 66 in the final round of the Coastal Georgia Invitational to claim the school’s first individual medalist and low 18 award.
The team score of 285 (-3) in the second round of the State Farm Invitational tied the single round team scoring record from the 2013 Skyhawk Classic. A new 36 hole team record of 672 (-4) was set at this year’s State Farm Invitational.
The staffs at The Farm and Dalton Golf and Country Club have been of invaluable assistance with the team. Use of the two pristine courses are a tremendous asset to the Dalton State golf program. Coach Rickett said he would also like to thank Tom Boers and Karyn Rizer from Hamilton Medical Center for their help and expertise.