Wildcats miss title, but not awards

Sophomore golfer Lee Gearhart (courtesy Chico Wildcats)

The fourth-ranked Chico State mens golf team may not have come home from Stockton last week with the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship crown like they had hoped, but they still have a lot to boast about.

During the awards ceremony after the tournament, the Wildcats figured out that sophomore Lee Gearhart had earned the CCAA Player of the Year award after his second place finish in the tournament.

“It was pretty cool being named the player of the year,” Gearhart said. “I knew there was a chance I could get it along with a few other guys in the conference but it was great to hear my name.”

Additionally, sophomore Justin Wiles was named co-Newcomer of the year after he transferred here from Southwest Oregon Community College. On top of that, the ‘Cats had Gearhart, Wiles and sophomore Alistair Docherty named to the All-Conference team.

The Wildcats went to the Brookside Country Club in Stockton looking for their first conference title since 2012, but came up a little short. Gearhart, Wiles and Docherty along with sophomore Will Flitcroft and senior Ricky Owaki represented the ‘Cats and took home a fourth place finish.

After the end of the third round the ‘Cats had dug themselves too deep in a hole and finished with 19-over par as a team.

Gearhart had the best score with 1-under par after being 1-over the previous day. Flitcroft and Docherty ended up sharing 10th place at 5-over par and Owaki tied for 19th at 10-over.

“We definitely could have done better,” Gearhart said. “It just wasn’t what we wanted to do but we were way too many shots over in the first round and we knew we had to play almost perfectly to get back into it.”

Now the Wildcats are on to bigger things as they head to San Antonio, Texas on May 5th for the first round of the NCAA tournament. This marks the eighth consecutive season Chico State will be able to contend for the NCAA crown.

The Wildcats need to place among the top six teams in Texas to be able to make it to the next round which takes place in Michigan on May 19th.