Countdown Begins for the Top-10 WNE Athletics Stories of Calendar Year 2013

Countdown Begins for the Top-10 WNE Athletics Stories of Calendar Year 2013
SPRINGFIED, Mass.‚ÄĒThe results are in! The votes have been tallied for the top-10 stories in Western New England Athletics during the 2013 calendar year. In the coming weeks, WNEGoldenBears.com will be counting down the most popular stories of last year starting at No. 10 and winding down to the top one, according to you. Thanks to all that took part in our survey.

In a tie for ninth place, Baseball's run through the NCAA Division III Championship last May and a regional title for Men's Golf in the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championships in October both received 71 percent of the vote.

The Golden Bears baseball team had a 2013 to remember, finishing with a 34-13 overall record for the sixth consecutive season with 30-plus wins and making an eighth-straight NCAA tournament appearance. Western New England, which entered the NCAA Division III New England Regional Baseball Championship seeded fourth, eliminated nationally Top-15 ranked and second-seeded Wheaton before falling to No. 1 and eventual national runner-up Southern Maine in the regional semifinals for a third-place showing on Cape Cod.

Western New England tied Commonwealth Coast Conference rival Endicott atop the conference standings with a 15-1 league record--its fifth consecutive regular-season title, outright or shared. Despite losing to the Gulls as the No. 1 seed in the CCC Tournament in Springfield, Baseball is thought to be the University's second-ever team (2005 Men's Soccer is the other) to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship.

Western New England produced nine all-conference and two all-region standouts.

Men's Golf, meanwhile, finished first in Division III at the 79th annual NEIGA Championships and was fourth overall among 40-plus NCAA I-II-III programs. The Golden Bears trailed only NCAA Division I scholarship Central Connecticut State (288+309=597), Rhode Island (297+303=600) and Bryant (298+313=611).

Senior co-captain Patrick Donahue led the Golden Bears with a two-day score of 72+75=147 (+3), good for fourth out of 189 individuals at the NEIGAs. Western New England posted a season-low team score of 300 on the final day, following Donahue's even-par 72 (that led the D-III field) on the opening day to set a team season-low score and a career-best.

The Golden Bears shot a collective 616 strokes for 36 holes.

The Golden Bears will resume their golf season in March, eyeing a potential first-ever berth to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships. Western New England captured the CCC Championships Fall Qualifier last Sep. 19 to gain entry to the conference's traditional spring tournament (hosted by WNE on April 26-27), as the champion will be the CCC's first automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships.