Wichita State men’s golf team got a good look at the nation’s No. 1 team on Monday and Tuesday in California.
Cal dominated the Alistar MacKenzie Invitational, winning by 20 shots over second-place San Francisco. WSU tied for sixth in the 16-team field and helps its national standing by finishing even with No. 36 Oregon State and ahead of No. 44 Fresno State, No. 33 UC-Davis and No. 45 Oregon, all listed in the Golfstat comparative rankings. WSU moved up to No. 53. The Shockers played without senior Hunter Sparks, out with strep throat, who was coming off a top-20 finish in his previous tournament.
“You’re not going to beat Cal here,” WSU coach Grier Jones said. “It’s a good experience any time you play with a No. 1 team. We played all three rounds with them and got to see how well they compete and how they handle themselves and how they keep the ball in bounds.”
Sophomore Louis Cohen Boyer shot a second-round 66 on his way to a 6-under-par 207 and a four-way tie for ninth place. Rafael Becker shot 69 in both of the first two rounds before slipping to a 74 on a windy third day and finishing in a tie for 19th at 1-under 212.
Cohen Boyer, who also finished in the top 10 in WSU’s previous tournament, earned Missouri Valley Conference golfer of the week honors for his performance.
Jones, as is his nature, declined to get too excited about WSU’s trip. He remains convinced the Shockers aren’t playing as well as they did a year ago. With everybody back from the team, his expectations are high.
“We weren’t awful; we weren’t great,” he said. “I think we’ve made a little progress here in the last month. The sense of urgency and interest seems to be up.”
No longer underdogs — Southern Illinois is the surprise team in Valley volleyball. The Salukis play host to WSU on Friday and might be the toughest road opponent remaining.
“It’s like they have a ‘No fear, all-or-nothing’ type of play,” WSU libero Jackie Church said. “They have nothing to lose.”
SIU stumbled to a 9-18 record last season, 3-15 in the MVC, and checked in at No. 228 in the NCAA power rankings (RPI). With new coach Justin Ingram, a former Kansas State assistant, the Salukis (16-4, 6-3 MVC) are in fourth place in the conference and No. 76 in the RPI.
“They always had the talent,” WSU coach Chris Lamb said. “Now they’re a year older. I’m not too surprised.”
SIU is 9-0 at home, including a 3-1 win over first-place Creighton. WSU defeated SIU 3-0 in Koch Arena earlier this season, its 21st straight win over the Salukis.
Pick a favorite — Nominations for the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame are due Saturday. Athletes enrolled in the fall of 2003 or before are eligible.
Nominations, and support materials, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Worth noting — WSU’s softball team will scrimmage Seminole (Okla.) State College at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Wilkins Stadium to make up for Saturday’s rainouts.…WSU’s tennis teams play in the ITA Central Region Championships starting Thursday, with the men in Minneapolis, Minn. and the women in Tulsa.