PLYMOUTH, Ind. – The Roane St. Raiders men’s golf team finished in sixth place in the NJCAA DII Men’s Golf National Championships held May 23-26 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind. It was the first time in the program’s history an RSCC team was represented at the national tourney.
In just their fifth season after the golf program was re-established, the Roane men earned a spot on the national stage by winning the NJCAA Southeastern District Tournament at the Golf Club of Bristol, April 23-25, in Bristol, Tenn. The win at Bristol also garnered the team the no. 14 ranking in the nation.
Along the way, the Raiders also won four regular season tournaments and set the all-time conference scoring record.
In the opening 18 holes of the nationals, the Raiders shot their best round of the event by scoring a 285 on the par 72 (6,876 yard) course. Led by under-par performances from Nick Daugherty (-4) and Seth Robinette (-1), the team’s strong outing landed them in fourth place when the first round of competition ended.
On day two, Roane St. fell to a 297, but managed to end the day, once again, in fourth place. Kieran McCarthy led the Raiders’ charge finishing the round at an even 72.
A windy third round caused havoc for most of the 22-team field. The Raiders notwithstanding fell to seventh place in the tournament after shooting a disappointing 316. It might have been worse had it not been for Caleb Tipton’s 75 (+3), which helped keep the team in contention.
In the final round, the Roane men fought back and delivered their second-best round of the tournament, scoring the day’s best score, 290. Led by under-par scores from Tipton (-1) and Louie Stott (-1), the effort allowed them to scratch their way back into sixth place.
Roane St. Head Coach Chris Griffin said, “I was excited to see how this team would perform on the National stage since we ended the season with three consecutive victories. This team knew they belonged here because of all the work they had put into their morning workouts, weekly scheduled practices (led by Assistant Coaches Bo Harris and Tony Wright) and a weekly Friday competition selected by me.”
Griffin added, “[In the Spring] we also brought in Charlie Isham, a volunteer coach and lifelong friend of mine, who adds a sense of business reality to the entire golfing experience.”
Individually, Roane St. golfers ranked well in the 110-man field. Tipton shot a four-round total of 293, which tied him for tenth place overall. Daugherty tied for 16th place with a score of 296.
The efforts by Tipton and Daugherty earned them honors on the NJCAA All-American second team.
McCarthy tallied a 303, which tied him for 41st overall. Robinette ended with a 304, which was good for a tie for 44th place. Stott ended up tied for 48th place with a 305.
Griffin said, “Each individual team member had excelled during our Fall and Spring tournament seasons, so I never know who will lead us each day. That’s what makes this team so strong when you have a lineup one through five that, on any given day, can go out and win an individual golf tournament.”
Of the five players who competed in the tournament, only Daugherty will not be returning to next year’s squad. Daugherty, a sophomore, will be moving on to play at Carson-Newman next season.
Griffin added, “It was an emotional last day for me and “Big Nick” since he had poured his heart into his golf game and into his teammates the entire season. Nick will do big things and I can’t wait to watch how he keeps improving [at Carson-Newman] under Coach Randy Wiley.”
The Raiders head coach concluded, “The four returning players (Tipton, Robinette, Stott and McCarthy) will bring the strongest team to the national tournament next year. They cannot wait to get the 2023-24 season started.”