By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University men's golfers Trent Jones (Sr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) and Kenneth Sheldon (Sr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) have been chosen as Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for the 2018-19 season as selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Jones and Sheldon each received the award for the second season in a row. A record total of 541 athletes from all three NCAA divisions the NAIA, and the NJCAA qualified for the award.
The Bearcats compete in Division III and the Northwest Conference. In NCAA Division III, 122 golfers received All-America Scholar status. For the second consecutive season, Jones and Sheldon were the only athletes from the NWC to earn the award.
In order to be chosen as an All-America Scholar in Division III, each golfer needed to achieve at least a 3.2 minimum cumulative grade-point average (4.0 scale), be of high moral character and be in good academic standing. In addition, he had to be a junior or a senior academically who competed in at least 50% of his team's competitive rounds, while earning a stroke average under 79.0 for the season.
Willamette won the overall NWC title to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The NWC title included results from three tournaments, with the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic each worth one-fourth of the title, and the NWC Tournament counting for one-half of the title. Willamette was tied for second place before the Bearcats won the NWC Tournament to claim the overall NWC Championship. Willamette Head Coach Patrick Daugherty was chosen as the NWC Men's Golf Coach of the Year.
The NCAA Championships began with 42 teams and six individual qualifiers competing at the Keene Trace Golf Club. The Bearcats made the cut after the first two rounds to become one of 18 teams participating on the final two rounds. Willamette finished 13th overall with a four-round score of 1228 (308-306-306-308). It was the best-ever finish for the Bearcats at a national championship tournament in men's golf.
Willamette took first place at five tournaments, starting with the George Fox University Invitational in the fall, and continuing in the spring with wins at the Pacific Spring Invitational, Willamette Valley Cup, Willamette Spring Thaw and NWC Tournament. In addition, the Bearcats placed second once, third twice and fourth once for finishes in the top four at all nine tournaments prior to taking 13th at the NCAA Championships. Willamette registered six team scores below 290, including a season-low of 283 (5-under-par) in the first round of the Willamette Spring Thaw. All five Bearcats earned season stroke averages under 76.7.
Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar Award
Trent Jones (Jr.) was named First Team All-NWC in 2016-17 and 2018-19, and was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 2017-18. This past season, he achieved a 74.83 stroke average, including a low round of 68 at the Willamette Spring Thaw. He grabbed individual wins at the GFU Invitational with a score of 2-under-par 142 and at the Willamette Spring Thaw with a score of 6-under-par 138. He finished in the top five a total of five times.
He recorded a career stroke average of 75.19 while winning eight tournaments. He earned top five results 24 times.
Jones received a bachelor's degree from Willamette this spring with a major in Physics. He attained his lowest stroke average of 73.95 as a freshman and claimed the low round of his career with a 65 in the first round of the Whitworth Men's Spring Invitational as a sophomore. Each season, he shot at least one round at 68 or lower. He accumulated a total of nine rounds below 70.
Kenneth Sheldon (Jr.) was named to the NWC All-Sportsmanship Team in 2018-19. He placed in the top six four times, including a second place at the Pacific Spring Invitational and fourth place finishes at the GFU Invitational and the Willamette Valley Cup. He was named Second Team All-NWC in 2017-18. He graduated from Willamette this spring with a bachelor's degree in Economics.
He registered at least one sub-par round each season, including a school record-tying 64 in the second round of the Whitworth Men's Spring Invitational on March 12, 2017. HIs 8-under-par score set a Willamette record for 18 holes. He scored 69s in the first round of Pacific Lutheran University's Collegiate Open on Sept. 17, 2017 and in the first round of the NWC Fall Classic on Oct. 14, 2017.
Sheldon's career stroke average was 76.34. He was credited with a career-best stroke average of 74.71 in 2015-16 and earned a stroke average of 75.48 this past season. During his career, he helped WU earn four straight top three finishes in the overall NWC standings, including the 2018-19 NWC Championship. He placed in the top five at 10 tournaments and was in the top 10 a total of 17 times.