On a day when one of its golfers landed on the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honor roll, Fort Lewis College continued to get smart Wednesday in Albuquerque.
FLC, for the first time since head coach Bud Andersen played for the NAIA Skyhawks in 1992, reached the NCAA Division II Mens Golf National Championships.
FLC entered the third and final day of the NCAA Division II Central/West SuperRegional in fifth place, the final qualifying position to nationals.
FLC finished third on the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course.
We played really well (Wednesday), said Andersen, whose Skyhawks rallied after their hiccup on Day 2. I had a good feeling they would.
Minus that hiccup (Tuesday), I think this was good for them.
CSU-Monterey Bay won the regional at 9-under par, while Sonoma State finished runner-up at 7 under.
FLC shot 287-293-285865 for 1-over par, and fellow RMAC school CSU-Pueblo finished 2-over par.
Hawaii-Hilo earned the final national-qualifying spot at 12-over par, one stroke better than Western Washington.
FLC has played like a national contender all season long, including beating the then top two nationally ranked teams in the country in a March tournament on this same golf course.
We played well down here last month, even with the wind blowing at about 100 miles per hour, said Andersen, who equated the UNM Championship Golf Course to the Skyhawks home 18, Hillcrest Golf Club. It plays long, especially with the wind blowing, and I think the greens are a lot like Hillcrests in terms of speed.
FLC won the RMAC regular-season title this year, its seventh league title in program history.
Gavin Lyons, a senior from Scottsdale, Ariz., was named to the All-RMAC first team, shared FLCs co-MVP honors with David Schroeder, and Wednesday was named to the RMAC All-Academic first team.
Lyons has a 3.47 grade point average in accounting, which landed him on the leagues honor roll for the third consecutive season. He shot a 1-under par Wednesday in Albuquerque to help the Skyhawks reach nationals.
Lyons shot 70-73-71214 to finish the tournament 2-over par and tied for fifth place.
John Jackson of CSU-Monterey Bay won the regional at 8-under par, four strokes better than Blake Snyder of Hawaii-Hilo. Janssen Todd of Sonoma State and Dylan Jackson of CSU-Monterey Bay tied for third at 3 under.
Charlie Laudermilk led the Skyhawks with a 67 on Day 3. He finished tied for 17th overall.
Keenan Holt, a Durango High School alumnus, shot an even par 72 on Wednesday and tied for 44th overall.
Justin Spray shot a 75 and finished tied for 38th overall, and Schroeder finished with a 76 and tied for 28th overall.
After 18 years absent from the big show, Andersen and FLC will leave May 14 for nationals. The tournament will be held May 16-20 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals in Florence, Ala.