Most students are enjoying the winding down of the semester, taking their last finals, begging teachers for that last bit of extra credit, but for a small group of dedicated student athletes, finals week has a greater meaning. The Rhode Island College golf team will be heading down to the Mission Inn Resort in Howey Hills, Florida for the 2012 NCAA Division-III golf championships May 15-18.
The team earned a bid to the event in the fall by capturing the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference championship for the first time in program history.
Lead by juniors Kyle Harper and Kyle Garcia, the team will be looking to make some noise in their first ever trip to nationals. “Going to NCAA’s is a dream come true,” said Harper, “There’s nothing I’ve wanted more in my time here at RIC then to win the GNAC title for the first time in team history and play in the National Championship against the best teams in the country.”
Joining the juniors will be sophomore Tim Leigh and the dynamic freshman duo of Ryan Butler and Pat Ford. Butler had his best round of the season at the GNAC championships winning the event by five strokes and propelling the Anchormen to their first place finish.
The team hasn’t played an event in nearly two weeks after capturing The Cup over Johnson and Wales University at Cranston Country Club in late April. The team qualified for the NCAAs back in October and has been counting down the days ever since. “We’ve been waiting for this so long and we are so ready to get down there and show everyone what we got,” stated Ford.
Excitement and nerves will certainly play into the trip, but the team will look to over come all of them to make a splash in the Sunshine State. “I think I can speak for the whole team when I say this is the most excited any of us has ever been,” said a smiling Ford. “This will be life changing.”
No matter the outcome the trip will be life changing indeed, but especially so, if the team finds success on the Mission Inn greens. The team will travel down to Florida as a group after they wrap up exams this week. They have a chance to play two practice rounds before getting down to business with looks of continuing to make history.