April 25, 2014

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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The University of Tennessee at Martin golf team racked up the hardware this evening at the Ohio Valley Conference championships banquet, conducted after today’s first round of action at the Fighting Joe course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Brendon Caballero and Ben Reeves were each named to the 10-man All-OVC team, while Austin Swafford brought home OVC Freshman of the Year honors and a spot on the All-OVC Newcomer squad. The Skyhawks become just the second OVC school to produce back-to-back Freshmen of the Year (Reeves won the award in 2013).

Caballero becomes the first UT Martin golfer to earn a spot on the All-OVC team in multiple seasons, as he was also on the prestigious list in 2013. The Brentwood, Tenn. native entered this weekend’s tournament as one of the favorites to win the tournament, as he came up just one stroke shy of medalist honors last season as a sophomore. His 73.28 average score ranked sixth in the OVC and he chalked up four top-10 finishes, including a win at the TSU Big Blue Intercollegiate on April 14-15. In addition to his two career All-OVC team honors, he was also named an All-OVC Newcomer in 2012 and was a 2013 OVC All-Tournament honoree.

“Brendon has been one of our team leaders all year and is very deserving of this award,” Skyhawk head coach Jerry Carpenter said. “He led the team in nine scoring categories, including lowest scoring average. He is a very hard worker, a very competitive individual, he strives to improve each day and is an outstanding student in the classroom.”

Reeves avoided a sophomore slump and emerged as one of the most consistent golfers in the league, becoming just the fifth golfer in UT Martin history to nab All-OVC honors. The sophomore out of Knoxville, Tenn. carded an average round of 73.83 this season, ranking No. 7 in the OVC in that category. He had a low round of 70 (second round at the Austin Peay Intercollegiate on Oct. 14-15) and placed fifth at the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate on Feb. 16-17. In addition to his crowning as the league’s top freshman last season, he also earned All-OVC Newcomer status in 2013.

“Ben is the team captain and is a leader on and off the golf course,” Carpenter said. “He is very deserving of this award. He puts in more than extra time and has improved his game each tournament while leading the team in four categories. He is an honor student and leads by example. He is probably a better person than a golfer and he is an outstanding campus leader.”

A Lebanon, Tenn. native, Swafford joins Reeves as the only OVC Freshmen of the Year in UT Martin golf history. Swafford splashed onto the scene this season, ranking 23rd in the OVC in scoring average (74.72). His best finish was a seventh place performance at the Murray State Invitational on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, with his best round of the year (68) coming in the third and final round of that same event.

“Austin has improved his game since he started this fall and exceeded expectations during his freshman year,” Carpenter said. “He is an extremely hard worker and practices with a purpose every day. He has a scoring average that has been in the top-25 all season and had led other freshmen in the league all season. He is very deserving of the Freshman of the Year and Newcomer awards.”

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