May 16, 2013
GALESBURG—Finals exams may be over, but five Carl Sandburg College students won’t start their summer break until next week.
The Carl Sandburg College men’s golf team still has business to take care of, as it will compete in the NJCAA Division II championship May 21-24 at Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro, Ala.
It’s the third time in the last four years the Chargers have punched their ticket to nationals, but because the team didn’t qualify last year, this will be the first time anyone on Sandburg’s roster will have played on the national stage.
“Playing at nationals will be new for them, but I don’t expect anyone to be afraid of the competition down there,” Chargers coach Ryan Twaddle said. “All five of our guys have come up big for us at some point during the year, and we have plenty of experience with four sophomores.”
Although Mark Dockstader, Nick Gustafson, Chad Hatch and Cody Reiber are the team’s veterans, freshman Joey Juergens of Galesburg delivered the shot that sealed Sandburg’s trip to Alabama. Juergens drained a putt on the final hole of the Region IV tournament to give Sandburg a one-shot lead over Elgin for second place and the tournament’s final national-qualifying spot.
The Chargers clinched their spot for nationals in October, but they’ve put together a solid spring in preparation for their season finale. Sandburg was runner-up to fellow national qualifier Black Hawk in the Arrowhead Conference standings, placing first or second in all four conference events. The Chargers also posted top-five finishes against four-year schools in the Fighting Scot Invite and Scot-Fire Invite.
“It’s been a crazy spring weather-wise, but our guys have still been able to play pretty well, all things considered,” Twaddle said. “It was tough to get out on the course on a regular basis for a while, but we’ve played a lot better as it’s started to warm up a little bit.”
Sandburg took a trip to Scottsboro in March during Spring Break to familiarize itself with the course, which runs alongside the Tennessee River. The Chargers also will play practice rounds Sunday and Monday before the four-round tournament begins Tuesday morning.
“Our guys won’t be surprised by anything they see down there,” Twaddle said. “They’ve seen the course before, and they know where they want to go and what to avoid. We have five guys who are capable of putting up a good score each time they play. As long as we play smart, solid and consistent golf, we should be able to put up some strong numbers.”
The 2012-2013 Carl Sandburg College men’s golf team (left to right): Head coach Ryan Twaddle, Chad Hatch, Mark Dockstader, Joey Juergens, Nick Gustafson and Cody Reiber. The Chargers will compete in the NJCAA Division II national championship May 21-24 at Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro, Ala. The Chargers are making their third trip to nationals in the last four years.