Three Red Wolves Named All-Sun Belt, Stirn Tabbed Freshman and Newcomer of the Year
JONESBORO, Ark. (5/3/17) – The Arkansas State men's golf team tied a school record for the second consecutive year by placing three student-athletes on the 2017 All-Sun Belt Conference Team, and first-team selection Zan Luka Stirn was also named both the Freshman and Newcomer of the Year in the league.
Joining Stirn on the all-conference team for the Red Wolves were junior Tanner Napier as a second-team pick and sophomore Joel Wendin as third-team choice. The Red Wolves' three selections not only tied Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Troy for the most in the league, it matched A-State's 2016 (Andrew Huseman, Napier, Oswin Schlenkrich) and 1995 (David Faught, Brian McCann, Jason Jones) teams for the most in school history.
Led by second-year head coach Mike Hagen, the Red Wolves' six combined all-conference selections over the past two seasons are the most in school history in back-to-back years. A-State's next closest combined total for consecutive seasons was four, with two selections in both 1999 and 2000.
A two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week, Stirn became the second A-State player ever named the league's Freshman of the Year. Lloyd du Preez took the same honor in 2008, while the Newcomer of the Year was awarded by the conference in the sport of men's golf for the first time in 2017.
Stirn made an immediate impact for the Red Wolves with seven top-25 and three top-10 finishes, including an individual title at the Bob Sitton Invitational and runner-up showing at the Tiger Invitational. The Kranj, Slovenia, native played in nine tournaments, compiling a 72.93 stroke average over 27 rounds that ranked second on the team and 10th in the Sun Belt Conference. He is currently ranked as the No. 188 player in the nation.
Napier made his second consecutive appearance on the All-Sun Belt Conference Team, also earning second-team recognition last year as a sophomore. He became the sixth player in A-State history to be named all-conference in back-to-back years and the first to do since du Preez in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The Paris, Texas, native carried a team-best 72.67 stroke average, which also ranked eighth in the Sun Belt Conference. He placed a team-best tied for sixth at the Sun Belt Conference Championships and also claimed medalist honors at the Duck Commander Intercollegiate, two of his eight top-25 finishes on the year.
Wendin has played in all 22 A-State tournaments during his two seasons with the team and completed his most recent campaign with a 73.67 stroke average that ranked third on the squad and 22nd in the Sun Belt. The Gavle, Sweden, native recorded seven top-25 finishes, including tied for 16th at the Sun Belt Conference Championships. His best finish of the year came at the Red Wolves Intercollegiate, where he tied for sixth place.
Arkansas State finished tied for third at the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Championships to mark the first time in school history the Red Wolves placed among the top three teams at the tournament in back-to-back years. The Red Wolves hold a 106-42-5 record and No. 88 national ranking by GolfStat.com this year, as well as nine tournament titles over the last two seasons.