Ewald leads Ichabods to MIAA conference championship title

corey garriott

Like a freight train rolling down a mountain, the No. 21-ranked Washburn golf team continues to roll over any resistance, gaining momentum towards a National championship run.

The Ichabods latest victory came courtesy of the MIAA Championships in Branson, Mo. – their fourth-straight triumph and eighth overall this year.

“We wanted to win by 20,” said sophomore golfer Matt Ewald, the individual winner. “That was a goal of ours.”

The 29-stroke win over Central Missouri gave the Ichabods a sweep in MIAA tournaments this year and a perfect point total of 48 for the conference championship – their fourth in five years.

“We made a pretty big statement by winning the conference championship by 29 shots,” said Ewald, who shot a 1-under-par round (the only player under par) for his win while also capturing MIAA Player of the Year honors.

Ewald was hotly pursued by familiar Ichabod faces. Freshman Matt Lazzo finished in second with a round of 1-over par and third place was taken by junior Ryan Deutsch with a round of 10-over par.

“I played real strong this whole tournament,” said Ewald. “I just had a bad stretch of four holes where I was 5-over par. But other than that stretch, I played really good – made a lot of birdies and minimized my mistakes.”

Junior John Robbins rounded out the scoring for the Ichabods in 12th place with a 14-over-par outing. Senior Taylor Dunham finished in 24th with a score of 22-over par.

“I felt going into the last round that I played good enough to win,” said Lazzo of his battle with his teammate. “But Ewald played better.”

Deutsch also felt he played well, just not in the beginning so he had to fight back into contention.

“The first day I struggled around the greens, I gave away so many shots,” said Deutsch. “The second day I played pretty good.”

Joining Ewald on the list of season honors for the Ichabods are Lazzo, Deutsch and Robbins, all selected to the 2006-07 All-MIAA golf team. Doug Hamilton, Washburn golf head coach, received MIAA Coach of the Year honors.

“We’re riding pretty high right now,” said Ewald, “but we can’t get too bigheaded because the biggest tournament of the year is in two weeks. If we don’t win, it’s over.”

Washburn has this week off before traveling to Joplin, Mo., to compete in the NCAA Central Regional Championships May 7-9. Washburn is ranked No. 1 in the Central Region, followed by Central Missouri and Missouri Southern in second and third, respectively – as they are in the final MIAA standings as well.

“I think if everybody plays – not even to their potential – just plays good, then we have it in the bag,” said Lazzo.

Only the winning team from the Regional makes it to the National tournament, something the Ichabods had done three-straight years until last year’s runner-up finish.

With so much success this season and all the accomplishments gained, the Ichabods feel good about their future heading into their week off and don’t foresee a letdown after their big win.

“If everybody stays focused and practices hard, I think everything else will take care of itself,” said Deutsch.

All-MIAA Golf Team

Eric Byers Missouri SouthernTommy Clifford Missouri SouthernRyan Deutsch WashburnMatt Ewald WashburnMatt Lazzo WashburnAaron Lisenbee Missouri WesternDanny Markham Central MissouriJohn Robbins WashburnNick Rotolo Fort HaysJustin Yoder Central Missouri