Tiger men, women each land four on all-conference team
The Dakota Wesleyan men's and women's golf teams each had four golfers named to the all-Great Plains Athletic Conference team, it was announced Friday.
On top of the all-GPAC honorees, sophomore Dani Bellet was awarded her second straight women's golfer of the year award and head coach Adam Anderson was named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC women's golf coach of the year.
Bellet, along with seniors Kelli Baseley, Heather Love and Kelly Daniels were named to the all-GPAC first team for the women and senior Nick Gates, juniors Chris Pritchard and Tyler Evenson and sophomore Adam Shiffermiller earned the honor for the men.
"Really we could only do two spots better out of the 10 spots we could have," Anderson said of eight of his top 10 golfers earning all-GPAC honors. "We have the most men honored by the conference and the most women, so you can definitely tell we have a good, quality program."
The coaching honor is Anderson's third women's coach of the year honor and fourth overall. It is also his second straight women's coach of the year honor.
"I like our kids getting honors more so than myself, but it's nice to be honored by your peers like that," he said. "It's selected by conference coaches, so that makes me feel good."
Bellet finished in the top five in all 13 tournament appearances this year and has won nine straight. She won four straight player of the week honors this spring and two more in the fall. Her back-to-back individual titles and player of the year honors are a first for the Tigers.
Baseley tied for second in the individual standings for the second straight year and her fourth all-GPAC first-team honor. She finished sixth or better in all 13 tournaments, including three wins and three runner-up finishes.
Love also finished in the top 10 in the individual GPAC standings. She played just nine tournaments due to her academic schedule, and finished in the top 10 at seven of those nine touranments.
Daniels finished outside of the top 10 in the GPAC race, but was voted to the all-GPAC team by the league's coaches. She took part in 12 competitions and finished in the top 10 in six of those with two top-five finishes.
On the men's side, Pritchard and Gates were both automatic all-GPAC selections thanks to their top-10 finishes. Pritchard had seven top-10 finishes in 12 tournaments, including one runner-up.
Gates, a Mitchell native, won two tournaments, including the final GPAC qualifier. He had 12 top-five performances and earned a player of the week honor in the fall.
Evenson won one tournament this year and one player of the week award to go with six top-10 finishes.
In his first full season on the varsity roster, Shiffermiller had one top-five finish, four in the top 10 and six in the top 15.
The awards were announced as both teams are preparing for trips to the NAIA national tournament. The women's national tournament is May 25-28 in Rapid City and the Tigers will look to improve on an 18th-place finish.
The men's national tournament starts Monday with a practice round at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. The tournament runs Tuesday through Friday.
In their first-ever trip to nationals last season, the Tiger men failed to make the three-day cut, but Anderson is hoping that experience will lead to success this year.
"We have a good nucleus back of the guys that went last year, so the fact that we do have the experience now, I think they're going to be less nervous, more aggressive and play like we normally play," he said. "We did improve every round last year at nationals; it was a learning experience."
Dakota Wesleyan is one of 11 schools in the NAIA that has both its men's and women's team qualified for the NAIA national meet, and is also one of only five schools to have its men's and women's teams in the field for the second straight year.