Lions ready for Super Regional in Edmond

May 8—The Missouri Southern State University men's golf team made the Super Regional tournament last spring but finished 18th out of the 20 teams in the trip up to Winona, Minnesota.

This time around, the Lions get to make a much shorter trip — to Edmond, Oklahoma — for the 2024 Super Regional including 10 teams from both the Central and Midwest regions.

After their MIAA championship victory late in April, the Lions moved up from sixth in the Central Region to third, just behind the University of Central Oklahoma (MIAA conference) and Henderson State University (Great American Conference champions).

The top three teams from the Midwest region are Grand Valley State University, University of Indianapolis and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Missouri Southern is preparing for a 6,944-yard par-70 course. It will go into Oklahoma with a better feel than it had in Minnesota a year ago.

"Last year, I wouldn't say we were the most prepared for going. It was the first time ever," Josh Hamnett said. "This year we've kind of found ourselves as a team and ready to go and actually compete."

Luis Limon is riding an MIAA Player of the Year performance this year. Tradgon McCrae is known as a top performer in the conference as he led the Lions last year and has been a top team performer this year as well.

The next three are Hamnett, Dylan Bagley and Ben Marckmann. Each of those has been able to support the top two performers with high finishes throughout the season.

"We've all been playing well and we had a pretty good tournament beforehand and it continued on to the next one (MIAA championship)," Bagley said.

McCrae repeated those thoughts of last year coming as more of a surprise and this year being more of an expectation to reach the regional level. Now, the sights are set on more.

"I think we're good enough to go to nationals," McCrae said.

Bagley added that team goes into every tournament believing it can win.

The sense of confidence comes from added experience and more of a belief that the team actually belongs in the regional field. Players went into depth on the difference between last year's thoughts and this year's.

"Last year we just wanted to play well at conference and maybe qualify for regionals. This year, after playing well in the fall, it was more possible to go to regionals," Marckmann said.

He noted that the mindset has also changed one year later, saying that the team "actually believes" it can compete in Edmond this week.

Hamnett added that experience is going to help the team this year. There are three seniors, a junior and a sophomore. Four of the five players played in the Super Regional tournament last year. The only one who didn't was junior Bagley. That lone sophomore is MIAA leader Limon.