HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – On the eve of the 2019 Great American Conference Men’s Golf Championships, the league held its awards banquet at the Hot Springs Convention Center. By unanimous consent of the league’s head coaches, Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Zach James took home his second-consecutive Player of the Year award. Additionally, they tabbed Harding’s Ryan Camras as the Freshman of the Year and Southern Arkansas’ Ben Sanders as the Coach of the Year.
James joined former Southern Nazarene All-American Michael Hearne as the GAC’s only two-time Players of the Year. He has spent time this season ranked atop the Golfstat’s national ratings. He enters the GAC Championships ranked third in the country. He has finished in the top two in nine of his 10 tournaments, highlighted by five medalist honors. He has more rounds in the 60s, 14, than in the 70s, 12.
Camras became the second Bison named GAC Freshman of the Year, joining Brandon Clark, who claimed the accolade in the league’s inaugural year, 2012. He recorded three top-six finishes and posted a 73.81 scoring average.
Sanders has elevated the Mulerider program into the top 30 in the Golfstat rankings and in position to make the NCAA Midwest/Central Regional for the first time in program history. SAU has won a school-record three titles during the season.
A pair of Sanders’ standouts joined James as unanimous selections to the All-GAC First Team in Kade Johnson and Roman Timmerman. The duo represents the Muleriders’ first two First-Team selections since 2012. Johnson finished inside the top 10 in six of SAU’s seven fully contested events, highlighted by a win at Arkansas Collegiate. Timmerman tallied four top-10 finishes, including a pair of top-three results.
A second member of the Savage Storm, Hayden Foster, landed on the First Team for the second-straight season. He has finished inside the top 15 in eight of Southeastern’s 10 tournaments. Henderson State’s Cameron McRae rounded on the First Team. McRae recorded eight top-15 finishes, including four top-10s, to help the Reddies enter the GAC Championships rank first in the NCAA Central Region rankings.
The All-GAC Second Team featured the Arkansas Tech tandem of Austin Gean and Shawn Tsai. Two sophomores – Henderson State’s Mitchell Ford and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Gustavo Tineo – paired up with Southern Nazarene’s Rhett Bechtel to fill out the team. Bechtel became a three-time All-GAC selection.
Camras paced the Honorable Mention Team. A pair from SWOSU – junior Kason Cook and sophomore Gregor Weck – joined Arkansas Monticello’s Kinley Lee and Henderson State’s Trey DePriest.
The GAC also announced its Elite Scholar and Distinguished Scholar Athlete awards. Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Preston Ewing received the Elite Scholar Athlete honor. Arkansas Monticello’s Lee and Harding’s Gregor MacIntosh earned the Distinguished Scholar Athlete accolade for the second-straight season. Henderson State’s Nick Shapiro, the Rangers’ Tyler Berryhill, Southern Nazarene’s Andrej Melichar and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Kason Cook also claimed Distinguished Scholar Awards.