Blog 113, 4/22/11 - Nod to Earth Day, Vikings Seeded Second

AB Golf Throwback
I don't make a habit of hugging trees but sometimes give them an admiring look as I walk past - oak, willow, cedar and silver birch in particular. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I'm surrounded by a lot of trees and would certainly rather they be allowed to stand instead of scythed to the ground to make or make way for something we don't really need.
Today was Earth Day and, unlike your typically devoted, placard-bearing eco-warrior who had surely been preparing for weeks, I remembered the significance of the date only this morning. After helping lead instructor Phil Gaggero coach the First Tee class up at Lake Padden this evening (great fun as usual and good to see a few kids from last fall's class back again), I hit a few balls on the range and discovered the golf equipment currently inside my golf bag (and the bag itself) could have been put there by Al Gore himself.
Besides the really cool AB Golf Throwback headcovers ($70 for three) whose polyester fibers are made from recycled plastic bottles, I found some Dixon Earth golf balls which are 100% recyclable and made from reprocessable materials (the Dixon web site claims the Earth ball outperformed the Nike One Platinum, Callaway Tour ix and Titleist Pro V1 in independent testing by PGA TOUR Partners Club, though it's not exactly clear how it outperformed them - quickest to decompose? first to biodegrade?), and some tees made of complex corn polymers which take a third the time to decompose as wooden tees and which, according to ecogolf, the manufacturer, save the world up to 100,000 trees a year. Whats more, my Wilson Staff Eco-Carry Bag prevented 12 gallon-sized plastic bottles from being thrown in a landfill, and its manufacture produces 70% less carbon dioxide than the manufacture of a conventional polyester bag. All I need now are some barley-based shafts, maize-based clubheads, and a wheat-based glove.

Coach Steve Card
A few days after Western's Steve Card was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth season in a row, and Dylan Goodwin the Player of the Year, the Vikings have been named the West Region No.2 seed for the NCAA Division II Central/West Super-Regional to be played May 2-4 at the University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque, NM.
Each Super-Regional is composed of 20 schools and eight additional individuals from non-qualifying schools. The top five schools and top two individuals from non-qualifying schools advance to the NCAA II National Championships May 16-20 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Fighting Joe Course in Muscle Shoals, AB.
Cal State Monterey Bay, the California Collegiate Athletic Association champion, is the No.1 seed in the West Region, followed by No.2 Western, No.3 Chico State, No.4 Sonoma State, the defending super regional champion; No.5 Cal State Stanislaus, No.6 Grand Canyon, No.7 Dixie State, No.8 Cal State San Bernardino, No.9 Saint Martin’s and No.10 Hawaii Hilo.
Western, which was ranked as high as No.2 nationally in the Golf World/Nike Golf/Golf Coaches Association of America Division II Top 25 this season, placed seventh last year after being the first-day leader. The Vikings won the regional title in 2005 and finished second in 1999.
Colorado-Colorado Springs is the No.1 seed in the Central Region. They are joined by No.2 Fort Lewis, No.3 Colorado State-Pueblo, No.4 Colorado School of Mines, No.5 Western New Mexico, No.6 Minnesota State Mankato, No.7 Colorado Christian, No.8 Regis, No.9 St. Cloud State and No.10 Mesa State.
In the latest GCAA poll, Chico State is No.1, Western No.5, Sonoma State No.10, Cal State Stanislaus No.16, Grand Canyon No.24, Colorado-Colorado Springs No.23 and Dixie State No.25.
"It’s going to be a highly competitive tournament with a lot of quality teams which makes it very unpredictable." said Western's Steve Card. "We will have to play well to advance to nationals. But I expect us to be ready to play. Playing the course in mid-March should help us in adjusting to the elevation difference."
The Vikings are coming off their fourth straight GNAC Championship earlier this week. In nine regular-season tournaments, they placed among the top four seven times, winning four and finishing runner-up in another.
Dylan Goodwin
Western will be led by Goodwin who has a team-best 73.0 scoring average so far this season. Not only did he win GNAC PLayer of the Year honors but also Newcomer of the Year. A four-time GNAC Player of the Week, Goodwin has placed among the top ten in medalist play in seven of  ten tournaments this season.
Making his second trip to regionals for the Vikings will be Xavier Dailly who has five top-ten finishes this season and a 74.0 scoring average. Also on the team are Nick Varelia who won last week's GNAC Championship in Coeur d'Alene, ID., Sandy Vaughan and Brian Barhanovich.
Goodwin, Dailly and Varelia were first-team all-GNAC picks, and Vaughan and Barhanovich were second-team selections. All three first-teamers took medalist honors during the season.


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