MARSHALL - The senior core of the Lincoln HI girls' golf team got to experience what it was like to win a Camden Conference tournament title as freshmen, but over the past two seasons they've been edged by rival Minneota. On a windy Friday at Marshall Golf Club, the Rebel girls reclaimed their spot atop the conference, and did so in impressive fashion.
Lincoln HI shot a school record of 368 to win the Camden crown by 44 strokes over second-place Minneota, placing three golfers in the top four.
The boys' tournament title was won by Dawson-Boyd, which finished 14 shots better than Russell-Tyler-Ruthton with a 328.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Lincoln HI senior Taylor Ness hits an iron shot on the par-4 5th hole at Marshall Golf Club Friday at the Camden Conference Championships. Ness shot a round of 87 to lead the Rebels to a first-place finish as a team.
As coaches of spring sports teams fight to keep their athletes focused and sharp with most schools in the area out for the summer, Lincoln HI head coach Greg Gile hasn't had that problem. His group of girls, which includes four seniors, is putting in the work to finish the year strong as the Rebels try to get back to the Class A state tournament for the second straight season.
Senior Taylor Ness shot an 87 to lead Lincoln HI and place second individually. She said the Lincoln HI golfers had a practice round at MGC on Wednesday and Gile said the squad was out at the practice range at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning, beating all the other teams to the course.
"We're always out there," said Ness, who birdied the 16th and 17th holes on Friday. "Everyone's done with school and we're like, 'Well, we still have golf.'
Camden Conference Championships
Boys Team Scores: 1. Dawson-Boyd 328, 2. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 342, 3. Canby 383, 4. Lincoln HI 385, 5. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 407, 6. Minneota 410, 7. Lakeview 431, 8. MACCRAY 431. Incomplete: Renville County West.
Top 10 Boys Scores: 1. Hudson VanDrunen (RTR) 76; 2. Easton Popma (D-B) 77; t3. Aaron Lange (D-B), Nick Simonton (Canby) 82; 5. Ryan Sumner (D-B) 84; 6. Spencer Erickson (D-B) 85; 7. Jon Tensen (D-B) 87; t8. Hunter Christensen (RTR), Austin Burns (RTR) 88; 10. Jonathan Piehl (LHI) 89.
Individual Boys Scores
Canby: Nick Simonton 82; Vasu Potla 97; Jesse Locken 106; Cedric Citrowske 112; Bill Longhenry 128; Landon Anderson 98.
Dawson-Boyd: Ryan Sumner 84; Aaron Lange 82; Easton Popma 77; Jon Tensen 87; Spencer Erickson 85; Christian Thoen 92.
Lakeview: Quinn Fenger 95, Taylor Pickthorn 93; Jackson Lovness 105; Eric Pehrson 138.
Lincoln HI: Jeramie Blegen 92; Jeff Gladis 96, Jonathan Piehl 89; Jordan Twedt 122; Trysten Studemann 108; Ryan Twedt 113.
MACCRAY: Dean Schoeder 94; Charles Rothwell 110; Isaac Gosseling 108; Nathaniel Johnson 119; Nathan Zurn 125; Braxton Burns 131.
Minneota: Aaron Buysse 113; Alec Engler 94; Leo Buysse 119; Cole Hennen 106; Alex Guttorrmsson 118; David Cayetano 97.
RCW: Ryan Countryman 122.
RTR: Hudson VanDrunen 76; Ryan O'Toole 91; Nate Christensen 88; Andrew Bakker 90; Nathan VanDrunen 91; Hunter Burns 88.
TMB: Mike Nilius 96; Joey Felt 97; Devin Skalak 103; Nathan Snell 112; John Frisvold 120; Myer VanEssen 111.
Camden Conference Boys Golf Final Standings: 1. Dawson-Boyd 15 points (won tiebreaker), 2. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 15, 3. Canby 10, 4. Lincoln HI 9, 5. MACCRAY 8, 6. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 6, 7. Minneota 6, 8. Lakeview 2, 9. Renville County West 0.
All-Camden Conference Boys Golf Team (based on season stroke average)
MVP-Hudson VanDrunen (RTR); Easton Popma (D-B); Ryan Sumner (D-B); Aaron Lange (D-B); Dean Schroeder (MAC); Christian Thoen (D-B); Ryan O'Toole (RTR); Nick Simonton (Canby); Spencer Erickson (D-B); Jeff Gladis (LHI); Nathan Christensen (RTR); Jon Tensen (D-B); Jeramie Blegen (LHI); Nathan VanDrunen (RTR); Hunter Burns (RTR); Andrew Bakker (RTR).
Girls Team Scores: 1. Lincoln HI 368, 2. Minneota 412, 3. Lakeview 425, 4. Canby 431, 5. MACCRAY 436, 6. Dawson-Boyd 439, 7. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 475. Incomplete: Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
Top 10 Girls Scores: 1. Hannah Kruger (RTR) 86; 2. Taylor Ness (LHI) 87; 3. Kyra Gores (LHI) 89; 4. Malorie Midtaune (LHI) 92; t5. Steph Werner (LV), Kendra Keinholz (MAC) 94; t7. Ashley Abraham (D-B), Alyssa Engler (MIN) 95; t9. Natalie Morris (CAN), Bailee Hauser (MAC) 99.
Canby: Taylor Gorder 113; Scarlet Thorston 107; Kristy Schmidt 112; Natalie Morris 99.
Dawson-Boyd: Ashley Abraham 95; Calie Johnson 131; Tracy Polzine 119; Raeann Tuff 123; Tiana Kruse 102; Taylor Loose 129.
Lakeview: Steph Werner 94; Hailey Matthys 104; Whitney Fischer 108; Briatta Buntjer 119.
Lincoln HI: Malorie Midtaune 92; Taylor Ness 87; Kyra Gores 89; Chelsey Benz 105; Danielle Buseth 100; Maranda Jerzak 119.
MACCRAY: Bailee Hauser 99; Kendra Keinholz 94; Karissa Keinholz 104; Tiffany Mogard 139.
Minneota: Katelyn Kack 112; Alyssa Engler 95; Megan Evers 103; Allison Bot 111; Charlie Josephson 103; Heidi Guttormsson 125.
RTR: Hannah Kruger 86; Kelsey Stanek 105; Lindsay Moberg 149.
TMB: Anna Pommier 109; Morgan Benson 123; Morgan Anderson 113; Emily Crumrine 130.
Camden Conference Girls Golf Final Standings: 1. Lincoln HI 16 points, 2. Minneota 13, 3. Canby 11, 4. Lakeview 10, 5. MACCRAY 10, 6 Dawson-Boyd 5, 7. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 5, t8. Renville County West, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 0.
All-Camden Conference Girls Golf Team (based on season stroke average)
MVP-Taylor Ness (LHI); Hannah Kruger (RTR); Steph Werner (LV); Kendra Kienholz (MAC); Malorie Midtaune (LHI); Kyra Gores (LHI); Ashley Abraham (D-B); Alyssa Engler (MIN); Bailee Hauser (MAC); Megan Evers (MIN); Natalie Morris (CAN); Danielle Buseth (LHI).
"Like (on Thursday) it was super windy and we were still out there hitting 100-yard shots. That's all we really do is 100-yard shots and a lot of putting."
The work obviously paid off on Friday. Along with Ness' round of 87, Lincoln HI freshman Kyra Gores carded an 89, and seniors Malorie Midtaune and Danielle Buseth added a 92 and 100, respectively, to round out the team's school-record score.
With his golfers' busy schedules, Gile said he's been impressed with how they've balanced everything and still excelled on the course and in the classroom.
"They're seniors and they've had prom, graduation, you name it," he said. "They're just putting the time in. You really have to be good at managing all the activities and they're doing it. And they're all honor roll students, too."
While there was a new winner in the team competition, the individual girls' title again went to Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Hannah Kruger, who fired a round of 86.
There are just three golfers on the RTR girls' team, so Kruger's only shot at winning a title was as an individual.
"It kind of always has been a goal for me to at least try to win conference ever since last year when my game really started to develop," Kruger said. "I'm just really happy to win it again."
Minneota junior Alyssa Engler shot a 95 to tie for seventh individually and help the Vikings to their second-place finish. Lakeview senior Steph Werner tied for fifth with a 94 to lift the Lakers into third place with a score of 425. The Canby girls took fourth (431), MACCRAY was fifth (436), Dawson-Boyd placed sixth (439) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton was seventh (475).
The Dawson-Boyd boys last won the Camden Conference tournament in 2009, but none of the three seniors on this year's varsity team were part of that squad.
Blackjack freshman Easton Popma helped the seniors get their hands on the Camden Conference championship plaque. Last year's individual champion, Popma carded a 5-over round of 77 on Friday to finish second individually and lead Dawson-Boyd to the team title.
"It means a lot," Popma said. "We've been kind of looking at this ever since we lost out last year and it's what we've been shooting for.
"This is the first time these seniors have won it, so they're real happy about that."
The Blackjacks owned the top of the leaderboard Friday, placing five golfers in the top seven. Dawson-Boyd senior Aaron Lange tied for third with an 82, senior Ryan Sumner was fifth with an 84, freshman Spencer Erickson took sixth with his round of 85, and senior Jon Tensen carded an 87 to finish alone in seventh.
It would have been a good day for the Blackjacks in ideal conditions. With his players battling winds that were between 20 and 30 miles at times, Dawson-Boyd head coach Dave Baldwin thought the Blackjacks handled themselves very well.
"We knew it was going to be windy and we told the kids, 'It's going to be windy for everybody, so if you think your score is higher than it should be, just don't worry about it because it'll affect everybody. Just play your game and bear down until the end,'" Baldwin said. "They did that. I'm really proud of them."
Hudson VanDrunen made it an RTR sweep of the individual titles on Friday, shooting a 4-over 76 to join Kruger as a medalist. He birdied the par-5 1st hole to start his round and had another birdie on the seventh to help him to a 37 on his front nine. He had three bogeys and six pars on his back nine for a 39.
VanDrunen said he golfs at MGC about once a week, but hadn't been playing well over the past week. He said it all came together Friday, although he still thinks he left shots out on the course.
The individual title wasn't enough to satisfy VanDrunen's competitive hunger. The Knights and Blackjacks had been close in competitions all spring and he was hoping Friday would have been the day RTR would have risen to the top.
"I actually wanted to win the team (title) more than the individual by a long shot, but we still have sub-sections and sections left and that's what I'm looking forward to," VanDrunen said. "I think we're all going to come together and shoot well. We got second, and I'd always like to get first, but there's nothing you can do about it. Just move on to the next day."
RTR's Nate Christensen and Hunter Burns joined VanDrunen in the top 10, each shooting a round of 88 to finish in a tie for eighth.
The Canby boys finished in a distant third with a score of 383, 41 strokes behind RTR. The Lancers were led by Nick Simonton, who tied for third with an 82.
Lincoln HI freshman Jonathan Piehl took 10th with a round of 89. The Rebels finished two strokes behind Canby in fourth place.
TMB finished fifth as a team with a score of 407, followed by Minneota (410), Lakeview (431) and MACCRAY (431).