MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's golf team, coming off its NCAA Championship appearance, recently handed outs its team awards for the 2012-13 season.
Led by four seniors, the Cardinals won two tournaments, finished runner-up in two others and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament. A thrilling playoff victory over San Diego State for fifth place at the Pullman (Wash.) Regional sent Ball State to Nationals in Atlanta.
Here are the team’s postseason award winners with the MVP and Most Improved awards selected by the team …
MVP: Tyler Merkel
Merkel had another season to remember, leading the Cardinals with a 72.91 stroke average, which was the fourth-best single-season average in program history. He was named Mid-American Conference Golfer of the week twice and landed a spot on the All-MAC First Team. Merkel also performed in the classroom, being named an Academic All-MAC honoree.
Most Improved: Joe Gasser
Another major piece in Ball State earning its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1991 was Gasser. A second-team All-MAC selection, Gasser managed his career-best stroke average at 74.36. He recorded three top-10 finishes and two top-3 results in 11 stroke play events.
Earl Yestingsmeier Student-Athlete Award:
Joe Gasser, Tony Lazzara, Alex Stinson and Brodie Williams
Named after longtime coach Earl Yestingsmeier, this award is given to a graduating senior based on academics, athletics and community involvement. This year the award went to all four seniors, who made a huge impact on and off the golf course. All four seniors received Academic All-MAC recognition of some kind.
Lazzara, a fifth-year, senior was a two –time team captain and Ball State’s top finisher at the NCAA Championships, defeating 17 players ranked in the top 100 nationally in Atlanta.
Stinson was a second-team All-MAC choice and was selected to the Academic All-MAC Team for the third straight season.
Williams recorded a pair of top-15 finishes in his senior year and was an honorable mention Academic All-MAC selection.
For a more in-depth look at the four seniors, click here to watch their story “Four on the Fairway,” produced by Ball State Sports Link.