San Antonio – St. Mary’s University men’s golfer Matt Vela was named PING/NCAA Division II second team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America for his play during the 2009-2010 season. The award marked the second time that Vela has been named All-American and sixth time that a Rattler men’s golfer has received NCAA Division II All-American honors over the last eight years.
Vela (Jr., San Antonio) had the best stroke average on the team at 72.8, including a low round of 67. Vela is also the 25th ranked golfer in NCAA Division II in stroke average. He finished in the top 15 in 11 of 12 tournaments and placed in the top five in five tournaments, including first place finishes at the Heartland Conference Tournament and the St. Mary’s Spring Break Dual. He is the sixth St. Mary’s men’s golfer to win the Heartland Conference individual crown. Previously this season, Vela received All-Heartland Conference for the third straight season and NCAA All-South Central Region for the second time.
Robert McVeigh was the first Rattler golfer to be named All-American, earning first team NAIA All-American recognition in 1995. Luke Antonelli became the Rattlers first NCAA Division II All-American, earning honorable mention recognition in 2003, then was a first team honoree in 2004. Jamie Amoretti received first team honors after winning the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2006 and was an honorable mention selection in 2007. Vela received honorable mention All-American honors as a freshman in 2008 and second team honors this year.
St. Mary’s finished the 2009-2010 season at the NCAA South Central Region Tournament, placing 12th as a team, while Vela finished seventh, just one stroke away from advancing to the NCAA Championships as an individual. The Rattlers also took second place at the Heartland Conference Championships, their 11th straight top two finish at the event.
Vela exemplifies what it means to be a St. Mary’s student-athlete. He was a member of the 2008-2009 team that won the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Division II Academic National Championship. St. Mary’s was the only school to finish the year in NCAA Division II – and one of only 11 in all divisions in the nation – with a GPA of 3.50 or better. The Rattlers had a team cumulative GPA of 3.62 for 2008-2009. Individually, Vela is a three-time member of the Heartland Conference President’s Honor Roll for his work in the classroom. To receive Heartland Conference Academic Honor Roll recognition, a student-athlete must have a 3.00 grade point average or higher.