August 1, 2008
San Antonio – St. Mary’s University men’s golfer Matt Vela was named Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Division II All-American for his play during the 2007-08 season, it was announced by the Association.
Vela (Fr., San Antonio) was an honorable mention selection after a strong first season with the Rattlers. He finished second at the Heartland Conference Championships, helping him to earn Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year and Heartland Conference Player of the Year Honors. He placed 21st at the NCAA South Central Regional as well. Vela was also named Ping/GCAA All-South Central Region. Vela is the third Rattler to earn All-American honors. Luke Antonelli was a two-time honoree in 2003 and 2004, while Jamie Amoretti was selected All-American after winning the national championship in 2006.
Vela has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 13 meets this season, including five top-five finishes. He has a 73.3 stroke average this season for the Rattlers. He is just the second Rattler to earn Heartland Player-of-the-Year recognition and the first to be named Freshman-of-the-Year. Jamie Amoretti is the only other Rattler to be named player of the year.
The Rattlers advanced to the NCAA South Central Region Tournament for the seventh straight season, finishing eighth. They finished second at the Heartland Conference Championships for the fourth straight season. Vela, Jimmy Willingham (Sr., San Antonio) and James Grant (So., San Antonio) all received All-Heartland Conference honors.