STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College will host the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Golf Championship at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club on Saturday and Sunday, October 12-13.
The winner of the eight-team tournament earns an automatic qualifier into the 2020 NCAA DIII National Championship, which will be played at The Champion and The Fazio in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on May 12th through May 15th.
The first group tees off tomorrow at 10:00 AM and Sunday's opening tee time is slated for 9:30 AM.
Fans can follow the event with live scoring provided by GolfStat using the LIVE STATS LINK
Two-time defending GNAC Champion Johnson & Wales University enters the tourney as the clear favorite, as the Wildcats earned six of the possible eight first-place votes and 61 points overall in this week's GNAC Championship Coaches' Poll. Freshman standout Nico Ciolino (Marlborough, Mass.), who has garnered a pair of GNAC Player of the Week and three GNAC Rookie of the Week accolades this spring, leads all conference players with a per-round average of 74 strokes and will serve as the Wildcats' #1 golfer this weekend.
JOHNSON & WALES LINEUP:
In the midst of a historic season, University of Southern Maine is very much in contention to claim the program's first GNAC crown and earned a pair of first-place votes with 51 total points in the pre-championship poll. Led by the longest-tenured coach in the conference, 20th-year skipper Reggie Grant, the Huskies have won twice as many tournaments this fall (7) as all other GNAC programs combined (3) and have the lowest team round average (305.7) in the league by over six strokes. USM, which has twice finished as the conference runner-up (2011, 2012), will play five seniors in the 2019 tourney, including Greg Kalagias (Saco, Maine) and Tristan Dundas (Abbotsford, B.C.), a duo that has combined to claim six Medalist honors and register 18 sub-80 rounds this fall.
SOUTHERN MAINE LINEUP:
Suffolk University garnered 46 total points in the poll after recording the program's best finish (4th) and team score (646) in the GNAC Championship last fall. The Rams feature four seniors in their lineup this year, including Owen Boggini (Tolland, Conn.) who last year garnered All-Conference accolades after finishing fifth overall with a 157 (79-78) card. Boggini, Elias Sachs (Arlington, Mass.), and Demetrois Stamoulis (Manchester, N.H.) have all competed in each of the last three GNAC tournaments and figure to bring plenty of experience to the table.
UMass.-Dartmouth was fourth in the GNAC poll standings with 38 points. Led by 15th-year Head Coach Joel Baptista, the Corsairs last won the conference title in 2010 and could move up the standings with a deep quintet of golfers this weekend, including senior captain Nick Avilla (Westport, Mass.) and freshman Alexander le Gassick (Mattapoisett, Mass.). The latter showed promise with a seventh-place finish, and 149 (75-74) card, in the Farmingdale State Invitational in late September and garnered GNAC Co-Rookie of the Week honors for his efforts.
Rhode Island College placed fifth in the GNAC Championship poll with 36 points and will be led by senior Tyler Boisclair (West Warwick, R.I.), who has posted six sub-80 rounds in just four events this fall, at Biddeford-Saco Country Club this weekend. Senior Evan Moore (Portsmouth, R.I.) has also enjoyed a breakout season with a pair of Medalist honors to his credit. The Anchormen have won five GNAC Championships, the last of which taking place in 2015.
RHODE ISLAND LINEUP:
Tourney-host Saint Joseph's College claimed 32 points in the coaches' poll and feature three freshmen in the lineup, the most by any team in the 2019 championship. Senior Brendan Donovan (Auburn, Maine) has been a steadying force for the Monks, who last won the GNAC title in 2016, with a 79.3 per-round average while two-time GNAC Rookie of the Week Trevor Flanagan (Monmouth, Maine) is averaging 78.4 strokes per turn and has posted a team-high six sub-80 rounds during his freshman campaign.
SAINT JOSEPH'S LINEUP:
Albertus Magnus College and Emmanuel College rounded out the pre-tourney rankings with 12 points apiece. The Falcons feature one of the top players in the league in junior Ryan Sember (Branford, Conn.), who ranks third in the GNAC in round average (75.4) and has recorded all six of his team's sub-80 rounds this fall.
ALBERTUS MAGNUS LINEUP:
For Emmanuel College, seniors Taylor Kieselback (Simsbury, Conn.) and Jack Scavone (Auburn, Mass.) look to help improve upon the Saints' prognostication while drawing from three years of GNAC Championship experience. Sophomore Michael Mencio (Watertown, Conn.) has also shown promise this fall and owns Emmanuel's top 18 (88) and 36-hole (181) scores in 2019.