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WWU men’s golf aim for 25th consecutive NCAA Regional Championship berth

The Vikings remain driven and confident heading into spring season

The Western Washington University men’s golf team poses for a team photo during the WWU Invitational on Sept. 25, 2023 in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings finished second out of 11 qualifying teams. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics

The Western Washington University men’s golf team has set their focus on their upcoming spring season. The Vikings are looking to advance to their 25th consecutive NCAA Regional Championships, which Head Coach Luke Bennett hopes to continue. 

“I would like to make sure that we’re right there ready to compete and continue our NCAA berth,” Bennett said. “The guys have always stepped up when needed. … I see guys playing with as much trust and confidence as they’ve ever played with.” 

However, the Vikings haven’t been able to repeat their success from the previous season.

“The [fall] season was pretty rough. The other three tournaments that we played away from home... we struggled,” Bennett said. “It seemed like when we got to tournaments, the guys maybe lost a little self-confidence, a little bit of belief – we were exposed.” 

Despite the struggles during the fall season, Bennett is eager to see his team bounce back. 

“This year we’ve ramped up the physical training and the guys have worked really hard this winter. Stamina shouldn’t be an issue,” Bennett said. “I’m confident they’ll be ready.” 

Seth King
Seth King locks in during the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate on Oct. 28, 2023 in Waimea, Hawaiʻi. King tied for 46th out of 92 qualifying players. // Photo by Spencer Honda, courtesy of WWU Athletics

Western junior Seth King is looking forward to the spring season and is determined to improve on an uneven fall season.

“I feel like I’ve been struggling a little bit. I came in [from the summer] playing some of the best golf in my life,  and then something in the swing felt a little funky,” King said. “It was a little iffy in the fall but we’re looking forward to the spring season.”

The Vikings finished tied for 10th out of 17 qualifying teams at the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate, their last tournament of the fall season.

“We mentally beat ourselves up in Hawaiʻi after some bad rounds,” King said. “One thing we need to learn is the game is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s never over until it’s over.” 

After finishing 15th out of 20 qualifying teams in 2022-23, the Vikings will look to return to the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships.

“We can win a national championship,” King said. “With our coaching, with the players we have on our team and the work everybody has been putting in, it’s not unrealistic.” 

One source of confidence for the Vikings is the continued chemistry between players.

“The fall was a great time for us to get to know each other, to learn how to grow with each other,” senior Drew Halili said. “It’s a great time for growth, a great time to figure out if your system is working or not working.” 

Drew Halili
Drew Halili takes a swing during the WWU Invitational on Sept. 26, 2023 in Bellingham, Wash. Halili tied for 36th out of 67 qualifying players. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics

Being the only senior on the team, Halili knows there’s pressure for himself and the team to reach their ultimate goal of a championship.

“Pressure is fuel. I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Halili said. “Nothing changes, it’s the weight that you put upon yourself. It helps to tell myself, ‘Hey, enjoy it, not a lot of people have this opportunity.’” 

Halili knows the team is ready for the task at hand because of the way they’ve prepared since their disappointing fall season. 

“We look at each other’s swings, we ask for our coach’s help, working together [and] finding that new system, understanding each other,” Halili said. 

Halili said he doesn’t think the team’s struggles during the fall season will define them moving forward. 

“That’s completely behind us,” Halili said. “It’s not a time to be down, it’s a time to be motivated. We’re all looking to get better.”

The Vikings start their spring season on March 4 at the NNU Nighthawk Invitational in Pleasanton, Calif. Students and parents can follow live results here.

Aiden Luhr

Aiden Luhr is a junior at Western and a sports reporter for The Front. He is a journalism news/editorial major and enjoys anything sports related. You can reach him at

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