#8 in 2013 – OC takes 4th at NCCAAs; Johnston becomes school’s 1st D-2 All-American
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of posts recapping the top stories in Oklahoma Christian athletics during the 2013 calendar year.
OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 24, 2013) – Oklahoma Christian’s remarkable run of top-four national finishes in men’s golf continued in 2013 and one of the Eagles’ top players, Sam Johnston, made history as OC’s first NCAA Division II All-America selection in any sport.
The continuation of a long string of success by the OC golf program, even at a new level of competition, was No. 8 on the list of top stories in OC athletics in 2013.
Coming off a NCCAA title in fall 2012, OC endured a successful spring despite weather issues that resulted in the loss of five rounds spread over three tournaments. The Eagles captured the Lions Classic in Fort Smith, Ark., and the Dallas Baptist Classic in Irving, Texas.
Because of the weather issues, coach David Lynn added the Winchester Classic to the schedule, a NCAA Division I event in Meadow Vista, Calif. The Eagles finished third, beating a pair of top-100 Division I teams, and Johnston earned medalist honors.
The honors began rolling in for Johnston. He was a first-team All-Heartland Conference pick (despite having a stroke average 1.2 shots better per round than any other league golfer, the conference wouldn’t consider him for player of the year honors), while teammates Logan Herbst and Vilhelm Bogstrand were on the second-team list and Lynn was named as the coach of the year.
Johnston, from San Diego, was named to the PING Division II All-Freshman Team, then the PING Division II All-America second-team honor list – making him an All-American in OC’s first year in the Division II membership process.
During the fall season, the Eagles rose as high as No. 18 in the Division II coaches’ poll – even picking up a first-place vote one month – and won the Newman Fall Invitational in Wichita, Kan., and the Western New Mexico Fall Intercollegiate in Goodyear, Ariz. Johnston picked up the third individual title of his career in the latter tournament.
In another Division I tournament, the Bill Ross Intercollegiate in Kansas City, Mo., the Eagles finished second by one shot to Central Arkansas while Alasdair Dalgliesh shared medalist honors. OC went into the NCCAA Championship in Panama City Beach, Fla., as the favorite but the Eagles couldn’t sustain their momentum and finished fourth, 10 shots behind Lee (Tenn.).
Still, OC’s top-four finish was its 15th straight in a national tournament (either NAIA or NCCAA), a remarkable testament to the program’s culture of success, and Johnston earned NCCAA All-America honors with his second straight runner-up finish in the event.
Four different players earned NCCAA student-athlete of the year awards a combined six times in either the spring or fall season in 2013 – Herbst, Johnny Ellis, Dalgliesh and Johnston.