For Immediate Release: December 20, 2003
Contact: John Hartrick (
Phone: 607-777-6800

Golf signs two high school standouts to NLIs

Binghamton University golf coach Nick Lasky has signed a pair of accomplished scholastic golfers to National Letters of Intent for the 2004-05 year. Committing to Binghamton during the early signing period were Zach Vinal (Syracuse, N.Y./Nottingham) and Ryan Gabel (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Spackenkill).

"Zach and Ryan represent an outstanding recruiting class, and I'm excited to have them join our program in fall 2004," Lasky said. "They both have extensive junior golf resumes, and will help fill the void left by our three graduating seniors."

Vinal, the younger brother of BU captain and four-year player Eric Vinal, brings a long list of amateur achievements to the program. The 5-foot-11 talent was the New York State High School Championship runner-up in 2002 - finishing second to current Bearcats player Kevin Crawford.

A four-time team MVP and first-team all-league selection for Nottingham High School, Vinal has gained distinction in Central New York golf circles. He has been named CNY Junior Player of the Year a remarkable three consecutive years, while no other golfer has won a total of three honors in the history of the award. Vinal tied for 10th at the 2003 state high school championship - the fourth consecutive year he advanced to the state tourney. His other notable accomplishments include being named the 2002 Men's Player of the Year in the Syracuse District Golf Association (SDGA), winning the 2002 Tim Metzger Tournament and capturing back-to-back titles at the Gerry Ashe Memorial Tournament. Vinal also placed fifth out of 550 individuals at the 2003 Syracuse Post-Standard Tournament.

"Zach has an uncanny ability to post low scores under pressure, and his combination of length and touch around the green will make him an outstanding collegiate golfer," Lasky said. "His decision to attend Binghamton will help ensure the continued success of Bearcats golf."

Gabel was named the Poughkeepsie Journal High School Golfer of the Year after a stellar 2002 year. The Spackenkill High senior placed seventh out of 99 golfers at the 2002 New York State High School Championship, and then won the ensuing state federation tournament, which features the top scholastic players from all public, private, Catholic and New York City schools. In that same month, he captured the 33rd Dutchess Country Coaches Invitational after carding a 1-over 73. Gabel's name has been commonplace in Dutchess County ever since as a 15-year-old, he won the Dutchess Golf Country Club Match Play Championship, becoming the youngest club champion in the tri-state area and youngest in the club's 105-year history.

Gabel has played in junior tournaments from New Jersey to Florida, and this past July placed seventh out of 70 golfers at the PGA Junior Series, held at Penn State. He opened that event with a 3-under 71. Ryan's older brother Dan plays for ACC member University of Virginia.

"Ryan's strength is his easy-going nature on the golf course," Lasky said. "He doesn't let adversity affect his game, and his history of regional and national junior golf experience will help make the transition into college golf a smooth one. Not only is Ryan an outstanding golfer, but he is an exceptional student as well."


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