SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With a solid season that included competing in all 33 rounds over 11 events and four top-20 finishes, Tyler Kertson was tabbed the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league's head coaches while Gio Gandionco and Evan McLeod earned honorable mention recognition.
"We relied on him the whole year," head coach Rob Miller said of Kertson. "It's nice to have a freshman to count on for an entire tournament. He was always there with a score that counted. It's awesome for a freshman to do that."
The first year player from Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Brophy College Prep) led the team with a 73.45 stroke average and eight sub-par rounds on the year. He had the second-lowest round of any Bronco this season with a final round 65 at the SCVB Pacific Invitational in October where he had his lowest 54-hole score of the season at 210. He finished tied for 13th at 3-under-par.
After a second round 81 at the recently completed WCC Championship, Kertson responded with a final round 74 to earn the admiration of his coach. "Awesome comeback," Miller said of his final round. "It shows how tough-minded he is. He doesn't give up. He's a competitor and we look forward to watching him grow."
Kertson's best finish of the season was a third place tie at the Cabo del Sol Intercollegiate in October when he carded a final round 3-under 69 to end with a 2-over 218. "He's a strong player and got stronger as the season moved," commented Miller.
Kertson joins Rick Lamb, who was honored in 2010, as the only Broncos to win the league's Freshman of the Year award.
Gandionco, a sophomore from Cebu City, Philippines, was named honorable mention for the second consecutive year. He played in 10 of the team's 11 events and was at his best during the spring when he was the team's top finisher four times in six events. Gandionco's best finish of the season was a tie for eighth at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate in February when he fired a season-best 68 in the first round and ended with a 5-under 211. He placed second on the squad with a 73.50 stroke average.
McLeod, a freshman from Carmel, Calif. (Carmel HS) competed in 10 events playing 28 rounds with a 74.75 average. He tied for 13th place with Gandionco at the just completed WCC Championship, his second-highest placement of the season.
"Solid and stead play by both of them. They deserved the honor," Miller said of his underclassmen. "It's nice to have a freshman and sophomore play so well. It looks good for the future of the program."