Prep golf: Quality area golfers swing into action
SLAYTON — Last season was a special one for the Murray County Central boys golf squad, but if they’re able to repeat such an occasion this spring, it will be with some new faces. So it goes in the world of high school athletics, but the Rebels say they’re up to the challenge.
Returning from a team last season that went all the way to the Class A State Golf Tournament and finished in second place, to lead this year’s team, are juniors Grant Everson and Adam Christensen. Both made quality strides last year for the Rebels at state.
“Everything was going well last year but we can all get better, too,” Everson said in practice late last week. “We lost a few seniors but have three guys back with some new guys. Hopefully we’ll get back or at least have a shot at it.”
Christensen shot an 81 on the first day of state and a 164 in all for the two-day event. Everson carded a 174.
Those three seniors from 2013 included Devin Erickson, Ben Loosbrock and Aaron Boock. But also coming up is Tyler Groves, a young eighth-grader who competed for the Rebels a year ago. Eighth-grader Jack Champagne, freshman Brad Schreiber and junior Dylan Nelson all come back with junior high or B-squad experience from last year while Cole Ahlers, Jack Pierson, Ethan Clarke and Jaden Boeboom will also join the team.
“Adam and I have been in golf since our freshman year, and then Tyler joined us. He’s young but he’s working on it,” Everson said. “I’m ready for the snow to melt and the frost to come out so we can move our practices to the golf course when it opens for play this season.”
Rebels head coach Kim DeLong coaches the boys and girls’ teams and echoed Everson’s sentiments of hoping the weather cooperates sooner than later. The team has been practicing in the high school multipurpose room for now. While it certainly suffices, it’s not the same as being on the course, DeLong implied.
“Two years ago we didn’t have any indoor practice but last year we didn’t get out until the end of April,” DeLong said. “But the kids still need to swing, putt and go over golf etiquette and review the rules of golf. Hopefully we can get out on the course before our first meet.”
MCC’s girls team saw sophomore Hannah Davis reach the 2013 Section 3A tournament in Marshall, but she missed out on a trip to state. Coming in as a junior, she has high expectations for herself.
“This year, I hope to do just as well and maybe better,” Davis said. “I’m very happy with what I’ve done so far but I hope the weather gets a little better.”
Davis joins two others as returners from last year’s girls golf team at MCC, including freshman Hannah Boese and junior Liz Praham. Marina Kremer, a junior, took a year away from the action last year but was a manager for the team. She’s back for another season, this time golfing.
Rounding out the girls team’s roster are six girls, most of whom have no golf experience. That group involves seventh-grader Paige Behrends, sophomores Angie Brinks, Harielle Hermina, Brittany Lund and Destinee Miranowski, and junior Hannah Reinke. The youthfulness, DeLong commented, is an exciting thing for her group this year.
“I’m very happy that seven girls have decided to join golf,” DeLong said. “I welcome them to the team and know they will have fun, learn the rules of golf and improve throughout the season.”
Adrian will hope to be one of MCC’s biggest tests in boys golf, as the Dragons carry over four golfers that are now juniors including Ben Henning, Collin Kemper, Kurt Christians, Tommy McCarthy and Bryan Beltran. Westbrook-Walnut Grove finished second last year while Southwestern United was third at the conference meet held in Worthington followed by Southwestern United, Adrian, Red Rock Central, Fulda, Southwest Christian/Edgerton and Hills-Beaver Creek.
W-WG has eight conference championships and three runner-up finishes in the past 11 seasons.
“We graduated a solid group of seniors led by Dana Madson, who won conference, subsection and section titles,” W-WG head coach Carter Ross said of last year’s boys team. “It will be a rebuilding year (for us).”
In Red Rock Conference girls golf, Fulda won the conference meet last season, carding a collective 413 to second-place Adrian’s 416, but the Dragons return their low-scoring defending conference champion, Marissa Veld, for this season. The Raiders have Caitlin Strenge returning, a junior who shot a 103 last year at the conference tournament to finish sixth.
Marshall returns much from SWC championship teams
Marshall brings Jacob Bakker back from last season after he carded a 71 in the boys portion of the Southwest Conference meet to anchor the Tigers to a conference crown and eventually a trip to the state tournament.
Worthington was third behind Redwood Valley and ahead of fourth-place Windom Area. Luverne has eight seniors on its team this spring after taking fifth place in the league a year ago. The Cardinals have 22 golfers on their boys team. Jackson County Central and Pipestone Area each finished behind Luverne.
In girls golf a year ago, Marshall also won the Southwest Conference, over second-place JCC by 22 strokes (350-372). Windom Area was led by Megan Will’s conference championship score of 80.