The Jamestown Community College Jayhawks finished the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships on a high note last year.
The Jayhawks hosted the event for the 13th year on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club and came alive on the final day to finish second in the 10-team field. JCC shot a season-low 300 in the final round in which each Jayhawk broke 80 and a 77 had to be thrown out.
''We really got hot on that last day,'' was JCC coach Brett Mucheck's understatement.
Jake Yartz of host Jamestown Community College shot rounds of 74-77-73-75 at last year’s NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships for a 299 total, 11 over par, to finish fifth in the individual standings and earned first team All-American honors.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Leading the way for JCC was Jake Yartz, who shot rounds of 74-77-73-75 for a 299 to finish fifth and earn NJCAA first-team All-American status.
So the Southwestern Central School graduate and his JCC teammates were anxiously looking ahead to this year's nationals, that begins on Tuesday. But for a while it looked like the Jayhawks would do it with Yartz as a spectator.
The sophomore recently thought he broke his left foot and had not attempted to play until Tuesday. It was Yartz's first time out in a couple of weeks, but it didn't seem to matter as he shot even par for 15 holes despite hobbling on the sore foot.
And that's all it is - a sore foot.
Yartz got some good news about his broken foot. He didn't break his left foot now, but had aggravated an old fracture. His doctor said he couldn't cause any further damage and cleared Yartz to play. So he is back in the lineup for the Jayhawks.
''It makes things a lot easier for me,'' said Mucheck, who in the past few weeks thought Yartz wouldn't play, then might play and now he finally knows he will play. ''The foot doesn't feel good, but it's well enough that's it not going to be too much that he can't handle.''
It wasn't just how Yartz's foot would stand up to his golf swing, but mainly walking the course for six straight days - two practice rounds today and Monday and the competition Tuesday through Friday. His left foot is swollen and he might consider wearing a golf sandal on that foot and a regular golf shoe on his right foot.
And if he chooses, Yartz is also allowed to use a pull cart instead of carrying his bag.
Mucheck has seen a benefit from the injury.
''I've always wanted Jake to bring his swing in a little bit and not be so aggressive at the ball,'' he said. ''Now he can't swing violently and he's probably hitting the ball straighter than I've ever seen him hit it.''
Yartz backed up his All-American status from last year by leading JCC with a 78.6 stroke average this season.
The other JCC sophomores who played in the nationals last year are Cassadaga Valley graduates Brenton Wilcox, who sports a 79.3 average this year, and Andrew Bird (82.2), and Drew Chaddock from Fillmore (80.3).
A sophomore who didn't play in the nationals last year as a freshman is Maple Grove graduate Jordy Farnham (79.2). However, he came very close to playing last year because he competed with teammate Casey Davidson in a 72-hole playoff for the fifth roster spot and lost by a shot.
If Yartz hadn't been able to play, his place would have been taken by Randolph graduate Mason Burch, a freshman who averaged 80 this season. And Mucheck was fine with that.
''I know we were losing a first-team All-American, but Mason played good for us throughout the season and he knows Chautauqua,'' he said.
And if Yartz hadn't have been able to play, it was going to be an added incentive for the Jayhawks to play well for him. However, the team has something else to motivate it heading into the nationals.
At the recent Region 3 Division III Tournament, the Jayhawks led by 14 shots after the first day, but they collapsed in the final round and finished second, nine shots behind Monroe CC.
''It was a 23-shot turnaround,'' Mucheck said. ''I don't want to take anything away from Monroe because they played great. They played really, really good that day.''
In contrast, JCC was the opposite.
''They felt embarrassed by how they played and how they performed,'' Mucheck said. ''I don't know what happened that day, it was just bad from the get-go. Within the first four holes we had already lost our 14-shot lead. It was a bad turn of events.''
So bouncing back from a poor regional performance is an incentive for JCC as it heads into the nationals.
''I think it's more of a let's-redeem-ourselves feeling,'' Mucheck said. ''So we have some good momentum going our way.''
However, there was a positive for JCC at the regionals. By finishing second, the Jayhawks qualified for the national tournament, even though they are automatically in the field as the host team.
''On the positive side, that's two years in a row that we've qualified for the national championships.,'' Mucheck said. '' It doesn't matter that we host it. If they had it anywhere in the country, we'd be going there two years in a row. That's a pretty big accomplishment.''
Minnesota State Community and Technical College had a pretty big accomplishment last year as it won the NJCAA Division III Championships. It was not only the Fergus Falls, Minn., school's first national title, but it was also the team's first appearance in the tournament.
Minnesota State won its regional title again and is one of 12 teams in this year's field.
Minnesota State is also one of five former champions in the field since the event has been held at Chautauqua beginning in 2000. They are host JCC (2000), Georgia Military Academy from Milledgeville, Ga., (2004), Monroe (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011) and Nassau CC from Garden City (2007, 2008).
Out of the team and individual qualifiers, there are 88 golfers from 34 colleges and 13 states.
The action begins at 9 a.m. each day from the first and 10th tees Tuesday through Friday.
JCC will start at No. 1 on Tuesday with Yartz at 9:40 a.m., Wilcox at 9:48, Farnham at 9:56, Chaddock at 10:04 and Bird at 10:12.
The Jayhawks will start at No. 10 on Wednesday with Bird at 9:40 a.m., Chaddock at 9:48, Farnham at 9:56, Wilcox at 10:04 and Yartz at 10:12.
2013 NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships Competitors
Burlington County College, Pemberton, N.J.: Corey Johnson, Jim Kramarski, Wade Sander, Rob Singer.
Butler County Community College, Butler, Pa.: Matt Eshelman,Tyler Friel, Garrett Gabriel, Tucker Preston, Carl Renshaw.
College Of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Mike Davis, Justin Harrington, Matthew Hay, Anthony Margentina, Xavier Owens.
Community College of Rhode Island, Providence, R.I.: Gina Bartolotta, Nick DeSalvo, Anthony Lovechio, Patrick O'Connor, Zachary Sullivan.
County College of Morris, Randolph, N.J.: Brian Cherello, Tyler Eike, Damian Garrett, Travis Sackman.
Georgia Military College, Milledgeville, Ga.: Jack Barber, Clay Cape, Ethan Chamineak, Bruce Ferguson, Kevin McKleroy.
Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, N.Y.: Andrew Bird, Drew Chaddock, Jordan Farnham, Brenton Wilcox, Jake Yartz.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls, Minn.: Lucas Gervais, Rob Goff, Brady Robertson, Taylor Shuck, Brandon Sletmoen, Matt Wagner (alternate).
Monroe Community College, Rochester, N.Y.: Brandon Grzywacz, Tyler Hill, Jered Maloney, Brett Robertson, Zach Tuttle.
Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.: Dean Franzese, Lawrence Maurello, Eric Michalak, Ryan Shinnick, Brendan Walsh.
Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, N.C.: Grant Edwards, Colin Jameson, Alex Meade, Karl Reamer, Nick Thompson.
Vincennes University Vincennes, Ind.: Jackson Cowden, Trevor Grant, Ryan Reedy, Tyler Sloan, Shelby Stewart, Walker Smith (alternate).
Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD. : Chris Furniss, Ryan McVey.
Broome Community College, Binghamton, N.Y.: David Hensberry.
Camden County College, Blackwood, N.J.: Robert Carbone.
Cayuga Community College, Auburn, N.Y.: Simon Fricano.
Columbia-Greene Community College, Hudson, N.Y.: Joey Kilmartin.
Community College of Allegheny CountySouth,West Mifflin, Pa.: Steve Sawczak.
Delaware County Community College, Media, Pa.: Zack Gremminger
Delaware Technical Community College: Georgetown, Del.: Trey Jewell
Genesee Community College, Batavia, N.Y.: Adam Baumeister, Alec Engel.
Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Mass.: Thomas Hutchings.
Jefferson Community College, Watertown, N.Y.: Chadd Call.
Louisburg College, Louisburg, N.C.: Zach Robins.
Mesabi Range College, Virginia, Minn.: Matt Kesanen.
Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica: Doug DeCarlo.
Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pa.: Troy Heffelfinger.
Onondaga Community College, Syracuse: Connor Salanger.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Fennimore, Wis.: Jeff Hesse, Kyran Kree, Aaron Rondon.
Suffolk County Community College, Selden, N.Y.: Nicky D'Aprile, Darren McCormack, Bryan Morin, Pat Soper.
SUNY Adirondack College, Queensbury, N.Y.: Ryan Steinbach.
Sullivan County Community College, Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.: Richie Elliot.
Tompkins-Cortland Community College, Dryden, N.Y.: Kyle Shaw.
Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pa.: Chris Cline, Ian James.