Immediate Release: September 10, 2004
Contact: John Hartrick (email@example.com)
golf aims for third straight NCAA regional berth as fall season
been six years since Binghamton golf had to replace both its
No. 1 and No. 2 man in the same off-season, but that is the daunting
task facing second-year head coach Nick Lasky as his 2004-05
team prepares tees it up in the fall. Graduation hit this program
hard last spring, with three senior starters No. 1 man
Keith Hendrickson and No. 2 Joe Kunz plus captain Eric Vinal
all completing their careers.
For the Bearcats to continue their standing among the top teams
in the Northeast and to extend the programs string of NCAA
tournament appearances (10 in the last 13 years including back-to-back
Division I berths), Lasky will have to receive production from
a talented but largely unproven group.
Not having Keith and Joe is a big loss in terms of scores
and consistency throughout our fall and spring seasons,
Lasky said. And any time you lose a four-year player like
Eric, it affects the continuity of the team. Although they arent
seniors, what I consider this years Big Three
(Brad Moulton, Kevin Crawford and Jeff Wolniewicz) know what
they have to do and I have every confidence they will rise to
the occasion and lead the team.
Wolniewicz emerging as top player
Sophomore Jeff Wolniewicz followed up his successful freshman
season with an outstanding summer on the amateur golf circuit,
and he appears poised to step into the shoes of his good friend
and mentor, Hendrickson.
Jeffs exceptional skills and calm demeanor on the
golf course served him well last year and over the summer he
has taken his game to an even higher level, Lasky said.
Because of his quite confidence and proven ability, his
teammates look to him to lead them from the No. 1 spot. And
that is remarkable for just a sophomore.
Wolniewicz earned second team PING all-region honors in 2003-04,
and maintained the 14th-best scoring average in the Northeast
(76.0). He opened the NCAA East Regional with rounds of 74-73
at Yale, and produced four top-10 finishes during the year.
n the summer, Wolniewicz served further notice with a 1-under
performance at the 72-hole Monroe Invitational Championship,
where he defeated eight collegiate All-Americans to place 10th
in the field (70-66-70-73). Three weeks later he fired two rounds
in the 60s to place among the top third at the prestigious Rice
Planters Championship in South Carolina.
Lefty Crawford back in starting lineup
Junior co-captain Kevin Crawford returns to his spot in
the starting lineup after a solid sophomore campaign. He held
down a 77.3 scoring average in 13 tournaments, and helped BU
gain its second consecutive NCAA regional berth with strong play
in the spring stretch run. In back-to-back tournaments, Crawford
was the teams low man, placing seventh at the New England
Championship (73-73) and 10th at the Rhode Island Invitational
(73-77). Lasky feels this could be a breakout year for the steady
Kevin spent countless hours over the summer refining his
swing and working on his game, Lasky said. He has
an emerging confidence and I expect him to be among the elite
golfers in the Northeast.
Moulton takes on captain reigns
Joining Crawford as co-captain is junior Brad Moulton,
whose collegiate career has been stamped with as many academic
accomplishments as golfing achievements. After a brilliant freshman
campaign, Moultons game slipped a notch in 2003-04, and
he played just five events.
A Deans List finance major who was honored as both a SUNY
Chancellor and America East Scholar-Athlete, Moulton has maintained
his leadership and dedication attributes not lost on Lasky.
They dont come any better than Brad Moulton,
Lasky said. He represents the University in such a positive
way, and always puts the team first. Because of a summer of
dedication and hard work, Brad is ready to step into the starting
five and resume if not improve upon his success as a freshman.
Vinal, Ungvarsky earn starting roles
Freshman Zach Vinal and sophomore Aaron Ungvarsky
have also nailed down spots in the starting five.
Vinal, the younger brother of 2004-05 captain and four-year letterwinner
Eric Vinal, enters college with a substantial resume of scholastic
and amateur golf accomplishments, and could quickly emerge as
one of the top players in the lineup.
He is one of just four golfers in New York state history to advance
to the state high school championship five consecutive years.
He was state runner-up to teammate Kevin Crawford in 2002, and
placed 10th in 2003. In the Syracuse area, Vinals name
has been near the top of amateur leaderboards for years. A three-time
Central New York Junior Player of the Year recipient, Vinal was
selected as the 2002 Mens Player of the Year in the Syracuse
District Golf Association.
Zach is a tremendous talent with unlimited potential,
Lasky said. He has high goals and expectations coming
into his freshman season, and we all look for Zach to contribute
Ungvarsky, a former Massachusetts high school state runner-up,
eased into his collegiate career last year, playing just three
events (76.6 average). His most impressive result was a third
place showing among a field of 125 at the Lafayette Invitational
(73-73). Ungvarskys performance in early season practice
rounds caught Laskys attention.
Right now Aaron is playing as well as anyone on the team,
Lasky said. And if he brings that same game to the tournaments,
well be a force to be reckoned with at any event we play
Gabel begins promising career
Freshman Ryan Gabel, along with junior Casey Wheet
and sophomore Casey Dean are also able to step into the
Gabel brings outstanding credentials to campus, having earned
six all-state honors while at Spackenkill High. Over the summer
he advanced to the round of 16 at the New York State Amateur
Championship and was runnerup at the Metropolitan Golf Association
Carter Cup Championship.
Wheet has earned a spot on the team for the second time in three
years, and can put up numbers, as his 72-75 in early-season practice
Dean, who like Wheet hails from Elmira, is a steady golfer and
former two-time scholastic player of the year.
Traditional events highlight schedule
The 2004-05 schedule kicks off with six fall events, capped with
BUs NBT Bank Collegiate Classic a 36-hole tournament
played at The Links at Hiawatha Landing. Prior to that, the
Bearcats will defend their title at the Colgate Invitational,
and then see most of their familiar region rivals at four straight
key tournaments in mid-September through early-October.
In early spring, BU will embark on two special trips to New Orleans
in late February (for the River City Classic) and Orlando in
March. In early April, the team will return to the Towson Drew
Upton Classic before grinding it out at the New England Championship
and Rhode Island Invitational two events that carry great
significance in the NCAA selection process.
Pride will be on the line when the Bearcats attempt to reclaim
the America East Championship when that 36-hole event begins
outside Albany on May 2-3. Binghamton, the 2003 conference champion,
struggled out of the gate last spring and was defeated by Hartford
by eight strokes.
The NCAA East Regional will be held on May 19-21 on St. Simons
Weve committed to a heavy District I schedule this
fall as weve done in recent years, which is necessary to
establish ourselves as one of the top teams in the Northest,
Lasky said. With the addition of two southern trips in
the spring, our goal is to gain more experience and exposure
at a national level.
Challenges face young lineup
To duplicate BUs scoring average (301.1) from 2003-04,
Lasky will need consistency throughout the lineup. The school-record
74.1 average that Hendrickson recorded will be hard to replace.
Add to that the fact that Hendrickson (97% of rounds counted)
and Kunz (89%) were virtual locks to come in with usable scores,
and one can see how the 2003-04 team won five tournaments and
had 10 top-5 finishes in 14 events.
With Wolniewicz (83%) and Crawford (78%), BU has some of that
consistency back, but the Nos. 3-5 are relatively untested in
the lengthy collegiate season, and the rate of their development
will play a big role in the teams fortunes in 2004-05.
There will be little time for that development to take shape,
however, as Binghamtons traditional fall schedule features
tough events at Central Connecticut, Dartmouth, Army and Yale
in successive weeks.
As in years past, its important to get off to a good
start in the fall, especially against our district rivals,
Lasky said. If we play the way were capable of,
it will set the table and let our competitors know
that Binghamton is once again a force in the Northeast.
One benefit the 2004-05 squad has perhaps more so than its immediate
predecessor is a balance throughout the lineup.
This years team is pretty evenly-matched from numbers
one to five, which is what every coach would like to have,
Lasky said. When you have five guys who can all score,
it takes the pressure off any one individual, and reinforces
the team aspect of collegiate golf.
Historically, Binghamton has parlayed that team concept into
achievement at all three divisional levels, capped by its recent
Division I success. Lasky believes this squad has the potential
to match if not exceed those lofty standards.
Our team goals are to move up one spot to the number one
ranking in the Northeast and also to return to the NCAA regional
for a third straight year, he said. While we recognize
that this is quite a challenge because of the teams youth,
our dedication and team chemistry should go a long way in reaching