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No. 10 Wallace State golf team qualifies for 19th NJCAA tournament appearance after finishing runner-up Tuesday at District 4 championships
 April 16, 2014

HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State’s golf team has qualified for the program’s 19th national tournament after finishing runner-up Tuesday in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) District 4 championships at the Stonebridge Golf Course in Albany, Ga.

The 10th-ranked Lions led by one stroke heading into Tuesday’s final round but a drastic shift in the weather, including a six-hour rain delay, affected play for each team down the stretch. Wallace State carded a three-round total of 898, finishing three shots behind host Darton State College.

Wallace State opened the tournament shooting a 300 and tied Darton with a second-round low score of 290. The Lions had a 309 during the final round.

No college shot better than a 305 on the final day and some finished with a difference of as many as 29 strokes between rounds 2 and 3.

“It was probably 80 degrees during our practice rounds and the first day. We then waited out a six-hour rain delay on Tuesday and the temperatures dropped considerably. The wind was swirling up to about 25 miles per hour. Everyone faced totally different conditions, and we lost our one shot lead,” said Wallace State Hall of Fame golf coach Dan York. “The good thing is we qualified for the national tournament, and our guys are excited about that. We are looking forward to the opportunity. I feel like we’ve made some progress here within the last couple of tournaments. I hope that’s the boost we’ve needed.”

Wallace State sophomore Aksel Olsen, last year’s NJCAA Division I defending individual national champion, led the Lions at the District tournament, shooting a 73-73-75-221 for third place. He finished 5-over par and two strokes behind low medalist Arthur Leonard of Eastern Florida.

Wallace State’s Cooper Brown finished tied for sixth after shooting a 74-71-78-223. Sophomore Chris Atchley, who shot a second-round best 69, completed the tournament with a 228.

Wallace State has two tournaments remaining this season. The Lions travel to Point Mallard in Decatur on April 28-29 for the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 18 tournament and hit the road for Burlington, Iowa on May 11-16 for the NJCAA Division I national championship.

The Lions finished seventh at last season’s national tournament, held in Lubbock, Texas.        

“We’ve got a chance to win our region tournament in a couple of weeks, but it’s not going to be an easy task,” York said. “If we play well at the regional, it will give us confidence heading to the national tournament, but it will also give us an attitude that we can win the whole thing. That’s what we are striving for.”

For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.

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