MEN'S GOLF: Ball State selected to NCAA Regional
Team makes first NCAA appearance in 22 years
After a disappointing third place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championship on Sunday, coach Fleck said he hoped that it wouldn’t be the last golf his team got to play this year.
With the team huddled up to watch the Selection Show Monday night, Fleck did not have to wait long to find out whether or no the Cardinals’ season would continue. Ball State grabbed the No. 10 seed with an at-large bid in the first regional announced.
“We’re just super excited for the opportunity,” Fleck said. “It’s really a culmination of the four years of hard work for the seniors.”
The Cardinals were tabbed to play in their first NCAA tournament in 22 years. The team will travel to the Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., home course to Washington State.
Headlining Ball State’s regional is California. The No. 1 seeded Golden Bears are favorites to win the entire tournament, as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation.
Also in Ball State’s regional, in order of seeding, is No. 8 TCU, Southern California, No. 24 St. Mary’s (Calif.), Virginia Tech, BYU, North Texas, Baylor, San Diego State, Memphis, Pacific, Princeton and St. Francis (Pa.).
“I like how everything worked out,” Fleck said. “We have a real shot here to make some waves and compete.”
Ball State has already played two of the teams it is slatted against. Ball State's first victory of the season came against St. Mary’s. The Cardinals lost to Memphis by 16 strokes at the Tiger’s home course.
Washington State will not be there to defend its home course, and only a handful of schools in the regional have played there before, something Fleck thinks will level the playing field.
The Cardinals will fly out May 14 to practice on the unfamiliar course, but the next week will not be spent relaxing. The team will convene for practice on Friday, and Fleck said that a dual match with Indiana is being scheduled for this weekend.
Ball State and 80 other teams in six regions throughout the nation will tee-off May 16. The teams will have to place fifth or higher in its respective regional to move on.
Kent State earned an automatic bid being the MAC champion, and is the only other MAC team in the field.