GREELEY — After a season of firsts, the Northern Colorado men's golf team took home three America Sky Conference titles. The Bears won the conference championship trophy April 27 after a dominating performance put them 26 shots ahead of the second place team. This win sent the team to the NCAA Regional tournament hosted by the University of Oregon, where it placed 13th.
Senior Ben Krueger, junior Steven Kupcho and freshman Julian Woodfork took the top three spots at the conference championships, respectively, and were named to the All-Tournament team. The Bears carded an 875 throughout the three-day, 54-hole competition, while Sacramento State came in second after carding a 901.
After coming to UNC from the University of Wyoming at the beginning of the fall season, Head Coach Roger Prenzlow received the America Sky Coach of the Year award after leading the team to the first NCAA Division I Regional appearance in school history and winning the conference championship title. Out of a total 11 competitions on the Bears' schedule this season, the team placed in the top 10 spots on eight occasions. Although Prenzlow received the award, he doesn't want to take full credit for the title.
“The Coach of the Year honor was truly a team award,” Prenzlow said. “The team worked hard to earn the successes we achieved throughout the year.”
In his final season as a Bear, Krueger, a senior from Colorado Springs, was given First-Team All-Conference honors. This season, Krueger averaged a single round score of 72.7 and a 54-hole score of 217.3. His single round average is one shot better than his previous single round average of 73.6 and three shots better than his previous 54-hole average of 220.3.
Krueger led the Bears in seven competitions this season, placing in the top 10 individual spots in five tournaments and winning both the Sacramento State Invitational and the America Sky Conference Championship. Krueger also took second place at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate. Though Prenzlow was only able to coach the senior for one year, he was impressed with his performance.
“It certainly was fun watching Ben end his Bear golf career with a win at the Sacramento Invitational and also at the Conference Championships,” Prenzlow said. “Congrats to Ben for having such a successful career at the University of Northern Colorado.”
Hailing from Westminster, Colo., Kupcho matched Krueger and also received First-Team All-Conference honors. With one more season left to play, Kupcho averaged team-bests of 72.5 shots per round and 216.1 shots per 54-holes. These marks improved his previous season averages of 74.4 per round and 222.5 shots per 54-holes.
The junior also recorded six top-10 finishes this season, earning second place at the UTEP Miner Invitational, the Whiting Turner Towson Invitational and the America Sky Championships. Kupcho also helped lead the Bears at the NCAA Regionals, tying with Woodfork for 39th place. With one year left to go, Prenzlow is optimistic about the next season with Kupcho.
“Thank goodness Steven will be back for another season as a Bear! It is always nice as a coach knowing that an All- Conference player will be returning to the line-up. Steven's leadership skills and playing ability make him regarded as one of the better players in the country.”
Click here for more on the University of Northern Colorado's Men's Golf program.