Defending Horizon League men’s golf champion Cleveland State was tabbed the preseason favorite on the men’s side, while Oakland and Youngstown State finished tied for the top spot on the women’s side in the inaugural Horizon League Coaches’ Preseason Golf Poll.
The Vikings claimed four of the eight first place votes to finish with 45 points to take top honors on the men’s side. Wright State received two first place votes and finished second in the poll with 39 points. Youngstown State was next with 37 points, edging out Oakland for third place by one point. The Golden Grizzlies received the final two first place votes. Northern Kentucky in its first season in the Horizon League finished fifth, Valparaiso sixth, Detroit seventh and Green Bay rounds out the poll in eighth.
The Vikings had five players rank in the top-15 in scoring average in the Horizon League during the fall 2015 season. YSU’s Brandon Pluchinsky had the lowest scoring average in the HL in the fall season, with a 72.07 stroke average. Defending Horizon League individual champion Evan Bowser of Oakland was second in stroke average during the fall at 72.09. Northern Kentucky’s Clayton Portz (72.19) and Wright State’s Ryan Wenzler (72.20) and Cody Nickson (72.40) rounded out the top-five averages in the Horizon League.
On the women’s side, defending champion Youngstown State and Oakland each received four first place votes to finish with 46 points and tied in first place. Cleveland State was next in the poll in third with 30 points, while Green Bay was next with 25 points. With 18 points, Detroit edged out UIC by one point for sixth, while Valparaiso rounded out the poll in eighth.
Defending champion Youngstown State had four of the top-10 stroke averages in the fall, including senior Emily Dixon who had an HL-best 74.17 stroke average in the fall. Oakland’s Elle Nichols and Morgan Smith had the second and third lowest stroke averages in the fall. Cleveland State’s Hannah Bennie and Allyson Hackman rounded out the top-five in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 2016 Horizon League Men’s and Women’s Golf Championship will be contested April 22-24 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Women’s Preseason Golf Poll (First Place Votes in Italics)
t1. Oakland (4) – 46
t1. Youngstown State (4) – 46
3. Cleveland State – 34
4. Northern Kentucky – 30
5. Green Bay – 25
6. Detroit – 18
7. UIC – 17
8. Valparaiso – 8
Men’s Preseason Golf Poll (First Place Votes in Italics)
1. Cleveland State (4) – 45
2. Wright State (2) – 39
3. Youngstown State – 37
4. Oakland (2) – 36
5. Northern Kentucky – 22
6. Valparaiso – 19
7. Detroit – 18
8. Green Bay – 8