The County College of Morris (CCM) men’s golf team added to its storied history when the Titans won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIX Championship at Great Gorge Golf Club at Crystal Springs Resort in McAfee earlier this month and qualified for the NJCAA Division III National Championships.
CCM ended the two-day regional tournament with a total score of 688, 27 strokes better than runner-up Burlington County College.
The Titans were led on the course by Chris Budd of Rockaway, whose fifth-place finish (86-81 – 167) landed him on the five-man Region XIX First Team. Erik Diamond (83-88 – 171) of Pompton Lakes, and Tyler Eike (89-83 – 172) of Rockaway, finished in sixth and seventh, respectively, securing each of them a spot on the Region XIX Second Team.
Rounding out the squad was Travis Sackman (91-89 – 180) of Landing, and Damian Garrett (89-95 – 184) of Rockaway. The team was mentored by head coach Matt Mugavero of Roxbury, assistant coach Jim Chegwidden of Dover, and assistant coach Mike Mrugal of Rockaway.
“It was great to see how the team came together and improved from the first tournament of the season to winning regionals,” said Chegwidden. “They improved each tournament, which was illustrated by how the team went from placing third in its first tournament, to second in the GSACs, and then winning regionals. Our whole coaching staff was proud of how the team responded this season.”
The Titans placed second at the Garden State Athletic Conference Championships earlier in May at Charleston Springs Golf Course in Millstone. Eike and Diamond led the way by making the first team with scores of 78. Budd made the second team with his 82. The team finished only two strokes behind Burlington County College for first. The Titans have an overall record of 24-3 this season.
The team now heads to Chautauqua, N.Y., in early June to compete in the national tournament. This marks the fourth time in eight years the team has accomplished the feat and is the second time they qualified back-to-back. The Titans have appeared previously in 2013, 2008 and 2007.
In addition to the four team appearances, Titans have qualified individually five times. In 2004 and 2005, Mrugal, a Morris Knolls High School graduate, qualified. In 2006, Nick Lamberti, a Madison High School graduate, qualified. Robert Gomez, a Roxbury High School graduate, qualified in 2009 and Dan Bentson, a High Point High School graduate, qualified in 2010.
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Photo: The County College of Morris (CCM) men’s golf team stands together at the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX Championships at Great Gorge Golf Club at Crystal Springs Resort earlier this month. From left to right are assistant coach Mike Mrugal of Rockaway, Chris Budd of Rockaway, Travis Sackman of Landing, Damian Garrett of Rockaway, Tyler Eike of Rockaway, Erik Diamond of Pompton Lakes, and assistant coach Jim Chegwidden of Dover.