Balicki: IUPUI pulls off a record-setting season
NORMAN, Okla. - IUPUI won’t be making its first trip to the NCAA Championship finals this year at Riviera Country Club.
That field will consist of the top five finishers from each of this week’s six NCAA region championships around the country. The Jaguars won’t be one of the five coming out of the Southwest regional at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Heading into Saturday’s final 18 holes, IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from the Summit League) stands in 12th place in the 14-team field and at 28-over-par 604 is 28 strokes out of fifth place. Simply, too many shots and too many teams to overtake in a single round.
While there is plenty of disappointment in the Jaguar camp, coach John Andrews and his players can hold their heads high. What a season this Indianapolis-based school has had.
Simply put, the best in school history.
The Jags played in 13 tournaments this season and had 11 top-5 finishes, including a school-record seven victories.
IUPUI earned its third berth in the NCAA post-season (2002 and 2005 previously), when it won the Summit League Championship, where it posted the best single-round team score in the country this season with an opening 265.
Senior Michael Davan, who led the Summit League in scoring with a 72.4 average, captured the league title by two strokes over senior teammate Ben Engle. On the season, Davan had eight top-10 showings, including three wins.
Davan was one of three Jaguars to be named first-team All-Summit League, along with senior Michael Powell and sophomore Rob van de Vin. Engle was a second-team selection. Sophomore Jose Pablo Segurola rounds out the Jaguars' starting five.
A great season, for sure. But it was difficult for Andrews to look back on it and put it all in perspective as he stood off the ninth green - the team’s last hole - on Friday.
At that moment all he could see was the day, one in which the Jaguars shot 19-over 307 to all but deliver their own knockout punch.
“Our goal all year was to get to Riviera and the (NCAA) finals,” Andrews said. “I’ll guarantee you, we’re not a group of happy campers right now.”
Still, Andrews is not one to give up so easily, and he’s hoping his players will have that same attitude. As bleak as IUPUI’s chances seem to be, the coach continues to carry a flicker of hope.
“You can never just quit, give up, no matter how bad things might seem,” he said. “I know this team shot 265 before, so I know they have it in them to go low. I know they have it in them to make a charge, but we’ll have to do a lot of charging tomorrow.”
No matter what the final result turns out to be and once most of the immediate disappointment wears off, Andrews and his team will be able to look back and pat themselves on the back on a great season.