Men’s Golf Primed To Tee Off
T.J. Eckert watches his approach shot during a 2016 golf round. (Provided/ UCO Photo Services).
The University of Central Oklahoma Men’s Golf team is ready to tee off their season, following last year where they won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Golf Championship.
The Bronchos return all five players from their MIAA Championship team with Eli Armstrong, Cody Troutman, Nick Pierce, Alexander Hughes and Wesley Jackson.
“All five are going to make a huge impact on the team this year,” Head Coach Josh Fosdick said.
Armstrong, who was named to the NCAA Division II PING All-Region team last season, leads the Bronchos with an average score of 72.97 in 12 tournaments.
“Eli is clearly the man to beat on the team, with a team low scoring average and as one of the most consistent players last year I know he will be gunning for the conference player of the year title,” Fosdick said.
Hughes is the reigning MIAA individual champion, who started to hit his stride late last year. Fosdick said he’s looking forward to how Hughes will follow his success from last year and mentioned he had a great summer, making it to elite eight in state amateur.
Troutman is a player that has had back issues throughout his career, but still managed to have the second best average score on the team last year with 73.18.
“If he is healthy he is easily one of the top golfers in the conference and region,” Fosdick said.
If Troutman’s back starts to act up though, Fosdick will think about all the options.
“I simply want him to have a good quality of life down the road, so if that means sitting out in the fall then we might have to look at options of keeping him around an extra year to compete when he is 100%.
Troutman, an economics major, earned First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American honors for the 2016-17 season. The senior out of Edmond, finished with a 4.0 grade point average, as he became the first player in school history to receive the award. Troutman’s other academic awards for the 2016 season include All-MIAA honors and the Elite 90 award for having the highest GPA at the NCAA Golf Championships.
Jackson is entering his last year and according to his coach is looking to end it with a bang.
“Wesley also made it to the Elite 8 at the State Amateur, and he, along with Cody, have had very good summers so far. With this being their last year of competition, I know they are wanting to end it with a bang.”
A freshman last year, Pierce is looking to improve upon a season in which he narrowly missed out on winning MIAA freshman of the year. The sophomore had the third best average score on the team with 74.12 and now looks to take the next step in his second season.
The UCO Men’s Golf team had seven players earn MIAA Honor Roll, which requires athletes to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Eli Armstrong, Holden Crago, T.J Eckert, Wesley Jackson, Peyton Knell, Nick Pierce and Cody Troutman earned the honor for the Bronchos.
The Golf Coaches Association of America named Troutman and Jackson Srixon/Cleveland All-America Scholars. Student athletes must maintain a 3.2 GPA, have a stroke average under 78, have three years of competition at the collegiate level and academically must be a junior or senior.
“I’ve pushed them to not only want to be successful on the course to be to strive to be the best team in the department,” Fosdick said. “That means commitment to studying when they’d rather play golf. At the end of the day, they are here for the degree. Golf is simply the tool to help many of them come and get it.”