Hartford, Conn. – It was a milestone year for the Trinity College golf team in 2017-18, lead by Head Coach Matt Greason (5th season), as the Bantams won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship for the second time this spring and won five other tournaments outright, including the NESCAC Fall Qualifier, and reached the NCAA Division III Championships in North Carolina where they finished 34th. This year's team broke nearly every team record in program history, including posting an average score of 297.95, besting the previous record set by last year's team of 300.82. The Bantams finished the season ranked 1st in the New England region and 27th nationally.
Greason was selected as the NESCAC Coach of the Year by his peers for the first time in his career after guiding Trinity to its first NESCAC Championship since 2010 and a berth to the NCAA Championship in North Carolina. In Greason's first two seasons at the helm, the Bantams finished third at the NESCAC Championship Tournament before improving to second place in the 2016 NESCAC Championships and tying for second in last spring's NESCAC Tourney.
Junior Will Rosenfield (Baltimore, Md.) shot a 71 on Sunday, improving six strokes from his Saturday round to tie classmates Ace Ensign (Sudbury, Mass.) and Taylor Kay-Green (Needham, Mass.) for medalist honors with a two-day score of 148 and lead the Trinity College "A" squad to first place in the season-opening Bill Detrick Golf Invitational at Indian Hill Country Club. Trinity "A" improved four strokes as a unit from the first to the second round, as it led Trinity "B" by two strokes after shooting a 302 during Saturday's play and shot a 298 today to finish at 600 for the weekend.
After a third place finish at the Duke Nelson Invitational, hosted by Middlebury, the Bantams won the Williams Fall Invitational, highlighted by a first day team score of 294 that featured three scores that either broke or threatened par. Trinity carried the momentum into the NESCAC Qualifier which the Bantams hosted. Senior Kole Kelly (Belmont, Mass.) turned in a two-day 143 to lead the way for Trinity and earn medalist honors after shooting 75 on Saturday and 68 on Sunday. His Sunday score was second to junior teammate Will Rosenfield (Baltmore, Md.), who fired a 67 to tie with Amherst sophomore Cameron Clark for the day's best score. Rosenfield finished second among the 50-player field while senior captain Nate Choukas (Hanover, N.H.) shot a 74 on Saturday and 73 on Sunday to finished tied for third at 147.
Trinity closed the fall portion of its schedule with a second-place finish at the Ekwanok College Tournament at the Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester, Vermont. Choukas led the Bantam squad and finished in first place overall with an impressive score of 67. Rosenfield finished close behind Choukas in second place with a score of 69, while junior Joseph Ladd (San Francisco, Calif.) shot a 71 and finished in fourth place.
Trinity kicked off the spring semester with a match play victory over Hamilton at John's Island Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida. In early April, the Bantams took third at the NYU Invitational where junior Jack Junge (Lincolnshire, Ill.) shot a Sunday 74 to finished tied for fifth. Trinity coupled that with back-to-back first place finishes on consecutive weekends, the first at the Westport Hampton Inn Men's Golf Invitational at Allendale Country Club. Trinity dusted the field of 18 teams with a score of 606, which was 14 better than second-place Babson. The following weekend at the Williams Spring Invitational, all six Bantams finished among the top-ten to lead the squad to a nine-stroke victory ahead of the NESCAC Championship Tournament.
At the NESCAC Championship Tournament, Trinity trailed Amherst by two strokes after Saturday's play, as the Mammoths totaled 301 as a team to the Bantams' 303, but shot 16 strokes better than Amherst on Sunday to finish at 291 and 594 for the weekend. Rosenfield shot Sunday's lowest round of 69 and tied Kelly for medalist honors to lead the hosts. The victory earned the Bantams an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament in North Carolina, the team's second ever appearance in the NCAA Championships, having first qualified in 2010 as NESCAC Champion when the tournament took place in Hershey, Pa.
In North Carolina, Kelly tied for 65th with a two-round score of 151 (+7), but the Bantams did not make the 18-team cut and settled for 34th place in the tournament. Trinity had a team score of 633, which was three shy of 33rd-place Lake Forest and two better than 35th-place Goucher. Kelly had shot even par through 10 holes on Tuesday before play was suspended due to rain, and Trinity sat in a tie for 14th place with Illinois Wesleyan. Trinity finished the first round this morning with a team score of 312 and shot 321 in the afternoon. Kelly finished his first round with a 74 and shot 77 today for Trinity's lowest individual score each day. Rosenfield tied for 124th with a two-day score of 157, while Choukas finished at 162 and in a tie for 168th place, and Kay-Green tied for 181st at 164.
Trinity boasted a handful of post-season honors, led by Rosenfield who was named a Ping Division III Honorable Mention All-American, as announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). He was also named as a semifinalist for the NCAA Men's Golf Jack Nicklaus Award Player of the Year and was named the 2018 NESCAC Men's Golf Player of the Year as well as First-Team honors. Choukas and Kelly joined him on the All-NESCAC First Team while Kay-Green earned Second Team honors. Rosenfield became the sixth Bantam to be honored as the NESCAC Golfer of the Year, joining George Boudria (2005-06), Reid Longley (2006-07 & 2008-09), Josh Grossman (2007-08), Jack Palley (2011-12) and Greg Palmer (2012-13).
The Bantams had a successful season off of the links too, as Choukas, Junge and sophomore Alex Dahlem (Glastonbury, Conn.) were named to the NESCAC All-Academic squad thanks to their hard work in the classroom. Choukas also represented the Bantams on the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship squad as well.