WAUKESHA, Wis. -- The Northern Athletics Conference released its 2011-12 men's golf preseason coaches' poll and the MSOE Raiders were picked as the slim favorite to capture the title.
The Raiders, the conference's automatic qualifier in last season's NCAA III Championship, collected half of the first-place votes (5) for 93 poll points, edging out defending champ Edgewood (92 points, 4 first-place votes) by a single point.
Edgewood won the conference title by 11 strokes over the Raiders in the fall, but MSOE bested the Eagles by 19 strokes in the spring AQ meet to finish eight strokes better in the two meets and claim the league's bid to the national championship for the second time in 3 years.
The Raiders' returners are led by Dane Zachman (pictured), who had the best 18-hole average in the conference at 75.6 in 25 rounds last season.
Benedictine received the remaining first-place vote and was picked third with 79 points. Aurora was fourth with 74, followed by Lakeland (50) and Dominican (42). The complete preseason poll is available below.
The conference championship, which formerly was determined by a single 36-hole event in the fall, will now be determined in a 72-hole, split-season event. The first two rounds of the event will take place in the fall, Oct. 9-10, at Whistling Straits, Irish Course outside of Kohler, Wis., and the final 36-holes will take place in the spring at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora, Ill., in April. The conference champion will also secure the automatic bid to the NCAA III Championship in May.
2011-12 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. MSOE (5), 93
2. Edgewood (4), 92
3. Benedictine (1), 79
4. Aurora, 74
5. Lakeland, 50
6. Dominican, 42
7. Marian, 39
8. Wisconsin Lutheran, 38
9. Concordia Wisconsin, 32
10. Rockford, 11
first-place votes in parentheses
voted on by the conference's 10 head coaches