Three Beacons Among Top 5 at MVC Championship
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Three Beacons Among Top 5 at MVC Championship

Three members of the Valparaiso University men’s golf program were among the top-5 finishers as the Beacons completed the third and final round of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Tuesday at the par-72, 7060-yard Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach, Mo. Junior Anthony Delisanti (Sanborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) climbed six spots on the leaderboard to finish third thanks to a stellar final round, while fifth-year senior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) closed out a runner-up finish among 50 competitors in his final league tournament.

VanArragon was named the Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Year following Tuesday’s round, becoming the second straight Beacon to earn the league’s highest honor after Delisanti did so a year ago. In addition, VanArragon was named the MVC Elite 17 Award winner for the fourth consecutive year, capturing the award presented annually to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average among top finishers at the championship. Freshman Adam Melliere (Zionsville, Ind. / Zionsville), Delisanti and VanArragon were all named to the All-MVC Team. Delisanti earned all-conference accolades for the third consecutive season, while VanArragon did so for the fifth year in a row.

How It Happened

  • VanArragon stroked a 70 (-2) on the tournament’s final day with four birdies against two bogeys. He birdied three out of four holes during a stretch on the back nine. He boasted a 54-hole score of 211 (-5), two strokes behind individual medalist Edouard Cereto of Southern Illinois. VanArragon was just one stroke back with two holes remaining, but he had a par and bogey on the final two holes while Cereto had a birdie and bogey.
  • After winning the conference tournament each of the last two seasons, Delisanti delivered yet another top-3 showing, putting together the best Round-3 score in the tournament field with a 67 (-5) to jump six spots on the player leaderboard and finish third. Reminiscent of his medalist performance from his freshman year, Delisanti was a machine on the back nine, using just 29 strokes, a tournament low for any nine. He was seven strokes under par on the final nine holes, posting five birdies, three pars and an eagle on the par-5 13th hole.
  • Melliere was also part of the Top 5, finishing tied for fourth with a 213 (-3) in his first league tournament. He posted a 73 (+1) during Tuesday’s final round including four birdies.
  • Valpo’s final countable score in Round 3 was a 75 from Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel). The Beacons had their best round of the tournament on Tuesday and tied with Missouri State for the tournament’s best Round-3 score at 285. Valpo finished third of 10 at 868 (+4) over the 54 holes, behind team champion Southern Illinois (856, -8) and runner-up Missouri State (864, E).

Inside the Rounds

  • Valpo picked up its third straight top-3 finish at the MVC Championship and had a top-2 individual for the third consecutive season.  
  • VanArragon picked up his 37th career top-10 finish, his 26th career top-5 finish and his 18th career top-2 finish.
  • Delisanti enjoyed his sixth top-10 finish this season and the 19th of his career.
  • Valpo accrued 48 birdies in the tournament, the third most in the field.
  • The team’s top birdie production came from Delisanti and Melliere with 13 apiece, followed closely by VanArragon with 12.
  • Delisanti ranked second in the field in par-3 scoring average at 2.92.

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“We came into the tournament determined to win the championship. I felt the guys were well prepared and we had a terrific season getting us ready to bring home a championship. After finishing in second place the last two years, we certainly weren’t expecting to win, but we knew that we had a great opportunity. To come up short and finish in third place hurts and certainly is disappointing.”

“Our guys are super competitive and all they want to do is win. They never gave up, and kept battling through all three rounds to the very last hole. This was clearly evident during the final nine holes of the tournament. We played that stretch at eight under par, with 13 birdies and one eagle. That stretch was a great example of how we were capable of playing. We simply couldn’t find that spark or momentum anywhere during the first 45 holes of the tournament.”

“Another area that I was very proud of the guys was their perseverance and poise. The golf course was a terrific challenge for all of the teams and it demanded a lot of good shots all of the time. Despite some poor shots and poor scores on a given hole, they kept grinding. We just didn’t have quite the shot execution that we were looking for, especially in the first two rounds.”

“The team was recognized after the tournament for an awesome body of work during the entire season. To have our top three players in Caleb, Anthony and Adam finish in second, third and fourth place individually out of 50 players is really special. Their all-conference accolades were well-deserved. The team and I couldn’t be happier for Caleb and his Golfer of the Year Award. It is certainly an emotional time when you reflect on the seniors who are graduating and the opportunity for potential postseason competition. For the time being, we will enjoy celebrating a terrific season!”

Up Next

Stay tuned for information on postseason play. The NCAA Men’s Golf Selection Show is Wednesday, May 1 at 1 p.m. on The Golf Channel.

Major Awards

Team Champion:  Southern Illinois

Medalist:  Edouard Cereto, Southern Illinois

Golfer of the Year:  Caleb VanArragon, Valparaiso

Newcomer of the Year:  Edouard Cereto, Southern Illinois

Coach of the Year:  Ray Kralis, Illinois State

Elite 17 Award:  Caleb VanArragon, Valparaiso

All-Conference Team

Michael Senn, Belmont

Jack Schoenberger, Belmont

Valentin Peugnet, Illinois State

Alex McCulla, Illinois State

Hampus Wijkstrom, Missouri State

Edouard Cereto, Southern Illinois

Dain Richie, Southern Illinois

Caleb VanArragon, Valparaiso

Anthony Delisanti, Valparaiso

Adam Melliere, Valparaiso