Golf team prepares for conference, national championships Oct. 8-9

Penn State New Kensington’s Adam Stawski was named national and conference Golf Player of the Week for Sept. 24 to 30.

Stawski, a junior math major from Plum High School, was honored by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) after shooting 75 on Sept. 26 to win the Penn State Brandywine Invitational by 5 strokes at Edgmont Country Club in Edgemont, Pa. His score led his team to a fifth place finish in the tournament.

The Pittsburgh resident is a member of the 2009 USCAA All-America team. He finished fourth in the national championships and runner-up in the PSUAC championships. He was a freshman when he set a New Kensington campus individual scoring record with a 4-under par 68 to win the Greater Allegheny Invitational at Butler's Golf Course-Woodside in Elizabeth.

Stawski, the 2008 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League champion, sat out the past two seasons to concentrate on academics. He moves on to the Penn State University Park campus in the spring to complete his bachelor's degree.

Individual and team honors are at stake for the New Kensington golf team when the postseason begins with the USCAA and PSUAC championships at 9 a.m. Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 8 and 9) at the Penn State Blue Course on the University Park campus.

Twenty teams will tee up for the national title, and the eight Penn State campuses will vie for the conference title as well. The Top 10 individuals earn All-American and All-Conference honors. The USCAA tournament is held in conjunction with the annual PSUAC championships.

The New Kensington Lions go into the championships with a 6-15 PSUAC record after taking fifth place Oct. 1 at the Hazelton Invitational at Valley Country Club in Sugarloaf, Pa. Sophomore Ben Hammel was in the final foursome and came in with an 89 to give the New Kensington Lions a team score of 371 for a 2-stroke victory over Penn State Schuylkill and a 3-shot win over Penn State Brandywine. Penn College at 346 was the tournament champion.

"The team has improved steadily throughout the season," said Bill Woodard, in his 11th year as coach, "and we will be competitive in the conference and national championships. Ben and our number one, Adam Stawski, and number three Matt Schrader will carry the workload."

Stawski is already a member of a select group of Penn State New Kensington athletes who have garnered USCAA Player of the Week honors. In April, Tara Oravec was the first softball player to earn national recognition. In men’s basketball, Ta-Wayne Steele (2011), Justin Reed (2009 and 2010) and Jeremy Hurt (2007) have been honored. Stawski was named to the honor roll during the 2009 golf season. Heather Stewart earned the award during the 2007 women’s volleyball season.

National honors have been a staple of the campus athletics program since it joined the USCAA in 2005. In the past seven seasons, five student-athletes have been named to the All-America team: Mende Hicks, women’s volleyball (2006-07); Jeremy Hurt, men’s basketball (2007-08); R.J. Hurt, men’s basketball (2007-08); Matt Miller, golf (2008-09); and Stawski, golf (2009-10).

In addition, four student-athletes were selected to the USCAA Academic All-America team: Matt Knapp, golf (2011-12); Kayla M. Smail, women's volleyball (2008-09); Jeremy Hurt (2006-07 and 2007-08); and Christy Heasley, women’s volleyball (2006-07).

The USCAA is a national organization that is geared toward providing athletic opportunities to small colleges with enrollments of fewer than 2,500 students. It sponsors 11 national championship tournaments in men's and women's sports. Established in 2001, the USCAA was incorporated to provide an opportunity for members to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of similar size and athletic programs. Headquartered in Newport News, Va., the organization has more than 82 member institutions in 24 states, stretching from Maine to California.

For more on the golf team and schedules for soccer and volleyball, visit http://psnkathletics.com/sports/golf/index.

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Last Updated October 03, 2012