From left: Austin Miller, John Thomas, Chad Manes, Liam Chambers, Zach Taylor, and Coach Bill Campbell.
Bill Campbell would be the first to admit that he’s had a string of incredible fortune as head coach of Southeast Community College’s men’s golf team.
Under Campbell’s watch, the Storm have captured nine consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Region IX titles and nine straight Region IX Tournament individual titles, with one caveat: there has not been a single SCC player repeat as individual medalist.
“I think it’s interesting that we’ve had nine consecutive team titles and nine different individual champions during those years,” said Campbell, whose team goes for its 10th consecutive regional title Thursday and Friday. “Of all the great players I’ve had play for me, not one came back the second year and captured the title. It’s always been a teammate.”
SCC is coming off a third-place finish at the 20-team Wild West Invite in Gothenburg in which it shot 317 but placed just one player in the top 10 (Zach Taylor, Omaha Burke, shot 75). In fact, the Storm won just two tournaments this spring, shooting 306 at the Northeast Spring Invitational in Norfolk to begin the season and a two-day total 592 at the NJC Spring Invitational in Sterling, Colo., site of the Region IX Tournament.
Can Campbell, in his 28th season as Storm golf coach, get a 10th consecutive team title and a 10th-straight berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament?
“You never know until you tee it up and get out there,” Campbell said. “This team has had its share of individual leaders. Taylor, Liam Chambers and John Thomas have all played pretty well.”
Chambers, a second-year player from Scotland, won the individual Region IX title last year. He joins the following Storm players who captured the last eight individual championships:
2012: Calvin Freeman
2011: James Willis
2010: Luke Benford
2009: Matt Vineer
2008: Derek Nicholson
2007: John Sloan
2006: Jason Feurher
2005: Travis Miller
Rounding out this year’s team is Austin Miller from Sidney and Chad Manes from Beatrice. Thomas is a Millard North High School graduate.
Taylor has the best two-day total this season for the Storm, carding a pair of 70s for a 140 on the Northeast 18 in Sterling. Chambers shot 1-under 142 to win the Doane Spring Invite at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln and College Heights Country Club in Crete. Campbell said any one of his five players is capable of shooting a low round.
“I think we’ll be ready to go,” Campbell said. “We may not have had quite as much success this spring as some in the past, but I like where this team is right now. The guys just need to play loose and stay confident.”
The winner of the Region IX Tournament qualifies for the NJCAA Division II National Tournament May 20-23 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.