EAST LANSING, MICH. -- For the first time since joining the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Trine University men's golf team found itself at the top of the winner's podium as MIAA Champions after the final rounds held at the Forest Akers West Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich.
Trine entered the final round of the two-day event with a nine-stroke advantage. The Thunder added another nine shots to their lead on the final day to cruise to an overall 18-shot margin from their nearest opponent for the tournament. Trine ended the event with an overall score of 583 strokes (290+293=583). Hope (Mich.) College finished as runners-up with 601 strokes (299+302=601) and Calvin (Mich.) University was third at 606 strokes (302+304=606).
Senior Grant Brettnacher (Lafayette, Ind./Harrison) finished as the individual champion after shooting a first-round score of 68 strokes and followed with a round of 73 strokes on the final day to post an overall total of 141 strokes.
Three other players of the five-man team finished in the top-10, including senior Nick Knowlton (Bridgman, Mich./Bridgman) who tied for third place after shooting a total score of 145 strokes (70+75=145). Freshman Mitch Lowney (Fenton, Mich./Clarkston Everest) who has had a standout "rookie" season in the fall, placed sixth overall after rounds of 78 and 70 strokes for a tournament-total 148 strokes.
Senior Carlos Coeto (Bernardo, Mexico) placed in a tie for 10th with a cumulative score of 153 strokes after a first round score of 78 which he followed with a 75 on the final day.
Junior Cameron Ruge (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) completed the five-man group of team eligible scores with a total of 158 strokes with rounds of 74 and an 84 and ended up in 26th place.
Also competing was senior Todd Mieske (Owosso, Mich./Owosso) who joined Coeto in a tie for 10th place following a strong performance for the tournament with rounds of 79 and 74 strokes.
This season, trine captured five-of-six fall MIAA rounds and averaged 292.8 strokes per round, almost nine strokes per round better than second-place Hope.
In addition to finishing as the conference team champions, several individuals took home post-season honors including Brettnacher who was named the MIAA "Most Valuable Player" and received the MIAA "Men's Golf Sportsmanship Award." He became the first MIAA men's golfer to be both the MIAA "Most Valuable Golfer" and "Sportsmanship Award" winner in the same season. Brettnacher averaged 72.3 strokes over the six-round season.
Four of the seven first-team All-MIAA selections were awarded to Trine players, including Brettnacher who garnered All-Conference accolades for the third time in his career. Joining him as first-team honorees were Coeto, Knowlton and Lowney.
Ruge was the fifth Trine golfer to earn a All-MIAA selection as a second-team pick, marking his second All-Conference award of his career.
Trine will serve as the host of the final two rounds of the 2020 MIAA NCAA Spring Qualifier, while second-place Hope will host the first round of the three-round, four-team event. Kalamazoo and Calvin will round out the four-team spring tournament, with dates to be determined.