The Youngstown State men's golf team will look to win its first conference championship in school history at the Horizon League Championships beginning Friday at the Mission Inn Resort Golf Course at Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla.
The Penguins have placed third in two of the past three Horizon League Championships and in three of the last five meets. YSU will be trying to advance to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in school history. Last season the Guins finished a disappointing eighth place, but were just five shots out of fifth.
Competing for the Penguins in Florida is Mark Olbrych, Bryan Yeo, Brandon Pluchinsky, D.J. Holub and Bill Gaffney. Olbrych will be playing in his third Horizon League Championship in Florida, Yeo his second while Pluchinsky, Holub and Gaffney are all HL rookies. Yeo and Holub are the only two golfers who have played in every round for YSU this season.
Olbrych has finished 23rd (2011) and 25th (2012) in his two Horizon League events at the Mission Resort. In his final round last year, he carded a two-over-par 74, improving nine shots from his first to final round. In 2011, he opened with a 76 before falling off the pace.
Yeo tied with Olbrych for 25th at the HL meet in 2012. Yeo finished with two straight rounds of 77 after starting the tournament off with an 82.
This year, Yeo has been the Penguins top finisher on four occasions. Two of those have come during the four spring tournaments. Gaffney led the Penguins twice in the fall, including a win at the season-opening Colgate Invitational.
Holub is coming off an impressive fourth-place finish at the Penn State Rutherford Intercollegiate. He also had a top-10 finish earlier this month at the Wildcat Invitational.
Pluchinsky has worked hard to crack the postseason lineup having solid performances in the past three tournaments. He led the way for the Penguins with a 26th-place finish at the NYX Hoosiers Inviational.
Olbrych had a sixth-place finish at the Wildcat Invitational and has been one of the team's most consistent performers all year.
The best team finish since the Guins joined the league was in 2006 when they were second. Individually, Nate Komsa (2004) and Ryan Stocke (2010) have earned medalist honors for the Guins at the event.
Three different programs (Cleveland State, Detroit, Loyola) have won the league championship the past three years. However, the Vikings have won four of the past seven team titles since 2006.
The NCAA Regionals are set for May 16-18 at six sites across the country. This year's NCAA Championships are set for Atlanta, Ga.