SMCC Wins Third Nat’l Championship
One national championship–most coaches would be ecstatic about that, but three is historical. The South Mountain Community College (SMCC) Men’s Golf Team has proven itself to be the best team in the country. The team recently won its third National Junior College Golf Championship (NJCAA Division II) in four years.
SMCC Athletic Director Todd Eastin said SMCC’s golf program is a point of pride. “The community can take pride in an athletic program in which we strive to represent South Phoenix. Our athletic program has grown to a new level in the past four to five years, similar to the facelift we have seen in the community surrounding the college in the last ten years,” he said.
For the past six seasons the golf team has been led by former SMCC golfer Jake Harrington. Eastin said he’s extremely proud of Coach Harrington and his golf team for repeating as national champions. “It is monumental to win a national championship, yet even a greater achievement to repeat, while the proverbial “target’ is on your back,” said Eastin.
Two of the student-athletes, Jake Argento and Marley Sweeney, are the first two student-athletes to ever attend SMCC and graduate with two national championship rings. Eastin said the athletes have upheld the high academic and athletic standards of the SMCC Athletic Department. Sophomores Argento, Sweeney, and Ben Seward are all graduating and receiving scholarships to four-year institutions. Freshman Will Twitty will also be leaving SMCC for a golf scholarship at University of San Diego. Freshman Sean Burgess will return in 2014 as the lone experienced national championship competitor.
“What’s incredible is the team is made of a group of true student-athletes that are excellent on the playing field and good citizens. “Coach Harrington does an unbelievable job helping his student-athletes navigate the South Mountain experience, academically and athletically,” said Eastin.
Harrington’s teams have won three of the last four NJCAA Division 2 National Championships (finishing 2nd in 2011) and also ranked among the nation’s top academic team performances as well. As a former SMCC student-athlete himself, Eastin said Harrington understands the grind of being a student-athlete at the community college level. “SMCC is blessed to have a loyal and committed coach, such as Harrington, to serve the development of our student-athletes,” said Eastin.
And no doubt next year’s team is hoping it will be able to say “fore” — four national championships.