State Team Golf: Cardinals, Patriots both return to state
Six new teams along with Marshall will try to prevent the Staples-Motley Cardinals from repeating as Class 2A state boys team champions.
The Cardinals will begin their title defense Tuesday at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The final round will be Wednesday.
Also advancing to state are the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls, who finished third last year. Pequot returns five of its six players from last year's squad, but must contend with Red Wing, which dropped down from Class 3A where it placed fourth in last year's state tournament and is ranked second only to defending Class 2A state champion and heavy favorite Detroit Lakes.
The Cardinals return three players from last year's state title team that shot a weather-shortened 443 to beat runner-up Detroit Lakes by seven strokes.
Andrew Israelson tied for fourth last season with rounds of 71-38 for a 109. The Section 6-2A champion's biggest competition this season came from teammate Dakota Waverek, who won the Mid-State and Mid-Minn Conference titles. Waverek tied for 21st in last year's state meet with a 77-38.
Kyle Quast, who finished third in the section behind Israelson and Waverek, tied for 65th at state with a 27-hole 124.
"Those three guys bring back the experience the other three don't have," said Cardinals head coach Glen Hasselberg. "They've been there and done that and know about the bright lights. They know how important each score is. There is no substitution for experience.
"Kyle maybe has not had the year he would have liked, but it was important for him to have the section tournament he had."
Freshman Tyler Helling, seventh-grader Finn Erholtz and sophomore Lucas Jimenez fill out the Cardinals' roster.
"Course management is the key to playing that course," Hasselberg said. "It poses lots of concern in terms of areas that can really add numbers to your score because of the potential penalties. To me it's all about course management."
Along with the course, S-M will be challenged by Marshall, which finished sixth in last year's state tournament and has roster a team of four seniors and two juniors. Marshall is the top-ranked team in the 2A tournament at No. 7.
Fergus Falls, which won a deep Section 8-2A tournament, tied S-M at the Deacon's Lodge Invite and won in a playoff and then beat the Cardinals again in the Warrior Invite at the Pines during the regular season.
Blake enters the tournament ranked 11th. Virginia is ranked 24th and Providence Academy, which returns all of its players from the state tournament two years ago, is ranked 26th. S-M is ranked 23rd.
"I would say my gut feeling is those rankings don't mean a lot," Hasselberg said. "Other than some coaches taking the time to do the averages and send them in — some don't send them in. I would put Fergus Falls right up there. They shot a 298 at the Pines.
"Providence Academy shot a 303 or something close to that at Pebble Creek for their section. You shoot those kind of scores you have some players."
The Patriot girls have some scorers as they fired a 299 in the final round of the Section 7-2A championship.
Junior Maggie Heggerston led the way with a state-record 62. Heggerston tied for fifth in last year's state tournament with a 27-hole 113. Megan Snyder and Alex Stone tied for 36th. Amanda Nies tied for 49th and Sam Olmscheid tied for 56th.
Pequot finished second in the Jordan Invite earlier in the year at the Ridges at Sand Creek.
"That course has a little bit for everyone," said Heggerston. "It's a longer course, but it kind of plays shorter in a way. There are holes you have to lay up on because there is a river running through it. Everyone typically plays fairy well at the course and we've grown to like it."
Detroit Lakes returns to defend its title, which the Lakers won by 31 strokes last year. All six of their players, who all finished in the top 18 return, led by Natalie Roth and Kate Smith who were co-individual champions.
Minnewaska, which finished second is also back as is Visitation, which finished sixth.
Throw in Red Wing, which is ranked second in the state, and the field is loaded with talent.
Pequot Lakes is ranked seventh and secured the top four spots individually during its section title with Snyder coming in seventh and Bella Abear placing 14th. Nies was second with rounds of 79-76, Olmscheid placed third with a two-day 159 and Stone finished fourth with a 161.
"We're pretty confident right now," Heggerston said. "We're in the heat of the season and I think we'll do well at state. Everyone is ready. Everyone is playing well. I'm confident that we're playing well right now.
"We have proven ourselves to be at the same ability as everyone, but we'll have to shoot our personal-best scores to be up there with Detroit Lakes and Red Wing."
Class 2A team golf
Girls: Pequot Lakes
When: June 10-11
Where: Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan