LATROBE — The Westminster College football team received high praise yesterday at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference football media day.
The league’s preseason poll, as voted on by PAC head coaches, sports information directors and media panel in attendance, was announced at a media event hosted by St. Vincent College.
The Titans, under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Scott Benzel, received 241 points with two first-place votes.
“We’ve been proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish since we had the opportunity as a coaching staff to take over five years ago,” Benzel said. “I was very excited to coach our young men five years ago. I am just as excited back then as I am now.
“Winning a (PAC) Championship is not easy. We have nine other teams sitting in this room that have good coaches, good players, and good processes. For us, that’s where it starts is our process. We can’t change what we do or how we go about our business. We try to improve it. But we believe in what we do. We believe in our process. For us, we learn lessons every year, whether we are successful or in defeat. The biggest thing for us is to grow and we’ve done that.”
Seniors wide receiver Connor Cox, linebacker Paul Gonzalez, offensive lineman Brady Hogue and defensive tackle Joey Lane and junior offensive tackle Cameron Mika all were named on the “PAC Players to Watch” list.
“We are going to continue to try do the best we can and get ourselves an opportunity to play in the championship game,” Benzel said. “There is no magic formula. You do what you do. You believe in what you believe in. You work the hardest to get there. We are going to start from scratch like everybody here. We are 0-0 and nothing is going to be handed to us. We are just going to have to continue to try put ourselves in positions to make plays and have a chance to win a championship.”
Dr. David Barner, a professor of broadcast communications and chair of the School of Communication at Westminster, was honored as this year’s recipient of the Dow Carnahan Media Award.
Westminster kicks off the 2019 NCAA Division III season with a home game against nonconference foe Capital (Ohio) University at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5.
Following is the 2019 PAC Football Preseason Poll (Predicted order of finish):
1. Washington & Jefferson: 298 (23 first-place votes)
2. Case Western Reserve (Ohio): 277 (6)
3. Westminster: 241 (2)
4. Grove City College: 219
5. Carnegie Mellon: 194
6. Bethany: 138
7. Waynesburg: 118
8. Geneva: 98
9. Saint Vincent: 77
10. Thiel: 45