There were no big surprises at the top of the leaderboard Monday at the conclusion of the 2013 Camden Conference Golf Championships at Marshall Golf Club. Defending boys' champion Dawson-Boyd reclaimed its crown with a team score of 346, finishing 21 strokes ahead of runner-up Lac qui Parle Valley. And the Minneota girls' team, which has cruised through the season, held off a strong run by Canby to win the Camden Conference title for the third time in the last four years.
The Minneota girls were dethroned by an experienced Lincoln HI team last season, but this year the young Vikings wouldn't be denied. They withstood some windy conditions and shot a team score of 400 to beat second-place Canby by nine strokes. The rest of the field was well back, as Dawson-Boyd finished third at 446 and Lincoln HI was fourth with 450.
The Vikings are comprised of a senior, a junior, two freshmen and two eighth-graders. Junior Megan Evers led the way for Minneota Monday, firing a 94 to place third individually. Senior Alyssa Engler and eighth-grader Heidi Guttormsson each shot a 101, while freshman Allison Bot came in with a 104. Those three took the final three spots in the top 10.
Minneota head coach Ralph Hagen said it's been fun to watch his young squad blossom this season.
"We lost because of inexperience last year, but now we're young and experienced," Hagen said. "It's a price you pay sometimes for a year, sometimes for a couple of years. It's moving faster than we thought, but we knew the potential was there. They all have nice swings, they're competitive and it's kind of a starless system. One girl does it one week and the next match it's another girl."
The Vikings all shot well Monday, but it was Evers who took the torch and led the way to help Minneota withstand a charge by Canby.
"Today Canby really golfed well and made it exciting right to the end," Hagen said. "Megan got third as an individual and now somebody different has led us in every match. Megan really has an excellent swing and it was just a matter of time. She hits the ball a long ways. Sometimes it's her putting that takes a little bit of patience but she had good patience today and things worked out very well for her."
Canby was led by senior Taylor Gorder and freshman Natalie Morris, who each shot 97 and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Hannah Kruger continued a strong senior season by three-peating as the Camden Conference individual medalist. She shot a 13-over round of 85 to finish six strokes lower than runner-up Bailee Hauser of MACCRAY. Kruger tied for 11th place at the Class A state tournament last season.
In the boys' competition, Dawson-Boyd ruled the day. Sophomore Easton Popma and freshman Christian Thoen each shot a 9-over 81, the low score of the competition. Popma earned medalist honors in a scorecard tiebreak. Sophomore Spencer Erickson was seventh individually with an 89 and sophomore Cameron Kemen rounded out the Blackjack's team score with a 95.
Camden Conference teams generally open the season at MGC at an invite hosted by the Marshall Tigers, but that event was canceled due to the late arrival of spring to southwest Minnesota. Dawson-Boyd head coach Dave Baldwin said his golfers went to play MGC Saturday, braving the cold and the wind to get a better feel for the course.
Baldwin said the Blackjacks were pleased to defend their conference title, but as a team, they felt they were capable of shooting lower than their 346. As the third-place finishers at the Class A state meet last season, they have set high standards for themselves.
"It's fun to win. The guys were happy that they won, but like a lot of golfers out there they wish they would have played better," he said. "They don't feel like they've gotten to where they need to be yet, so they're really determined to work hard over the next week to try to get back down to where they think they have to be to go to the next step."
Popma finished second as an individual last year but ended up winning Monday despite shooting four strokes higher than in 2012. Baldwin said there were some different perspectives on the 81s shot by Popma and Thoen Monday.
"Easton, he's special, as I've said before," Baldwin said. "If he's not playing his best he's frustrated, but a lot of golfers can say that, too.
"Christian played better than he has been the last week or so and that was huge for us because we know he's a very good player and it was good to see him shoot a lower number today."
MACCRAY finished in a distant second in the boys' team standings with a 367. Canby was three strokes back of that in third. Senior Nick Simonton shot an 86 to finish fifth individually and lead the Lancers on the day.
Other area golfers in the top 10 were Hunter Burns of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton who was sixth with an 86, and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Rick Jorgenson was ninth with an 89. TMB finished fifth as a team (381), followed by RTR (383), Lakeview (386), Lincoln HI (428) and Minneota (442).
Boys' Team Results: 1. Dawson-Boyd 346, 2. Lac qui Parle Valley 367, 3. Canby 370, 4. MACCRAY 373, 5. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 381, 6. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 383, 7. Lakeview 386, 8. Lincoln HI 428, 9. Minneota 442.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Easton Popma (D-B) 81, 2. Christian Thoen (D-B) 81, 3. Dean Schroeder (MAC) 82, 4. Brady Madsen (MAC) 83, 5. Nick Simonton (CAN) 86, 6. Hunter Burns (RTR) 86, 7. Spencer Erickson (D-B) 89, 8. Hunter Lind (LQPV) 89, 9. Ricky Jorgenson (TMB) 89), 10. Ricky Sigdahl (LQPV) 90.
Canby: Nick Simonton 86, Vasa Potla 94, Landon Anderson 95, Dylan Smith 95.
Dawson-Boyd: Easton Popma 81, Christian Thoen 81, Spencer Erickson 89, Cameron Kemen 95.
Lac qui Parle Valley: Hunter Lind 89, Riley Sigdahl 90, Matt Bornhorst 93, Jaden Kallhoff 95.
Lakeview: Quinn Fenger 93, Thomas Geihl 95, Taylor Pickthorn 98, Zach Werner 100.
Lincoln HI: Jeff Gladis 95, Trysten Studemann 101, Ryan Twedt 1113, Tristen Sorenson 119.
MACCRAY: Dean Schroeder 82, Brady Madsen 83, Isaac Gosling 103, Andrew Gosling 105.
Minneota: Leo Buysse 98, Cole Hennen 108, Kyle Hennen 118, Joe Buysse 118.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton: Hunter Burns 86, Jeremy Alsaker 94, Nathan VanDrunen 100, Derrick Whiting 103.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton: Rick Jorgenson 89, Devin Skalak 92, Joey Felt 99, Mark DeSmith 101.
Girls' Team Scores: 1. Minneota 400, 2. Canby 409, 3. Dawson-Boyd 446, 4. Lincoln HI 450, 5. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 485, 6. MACCRAY 492, 7. Lakeview 504. Incomplete: Lac qui Parle Valley, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Hannah Kruger (RTR) 85, 2. Bailee Hauser (MAC) 91, 3. Megan Evers (MIN) 94, 4. Taylor Gorder (CAN) 97, 5. Natalie Morris (CAN) 97, 6. Whitney Fischer (LV) 97, 7. Kyra Gores (LHI) 97, 8. Alyssa Engler (MIN) 101, 9. Heidi Guttormsson (MIN) 101, 10. Allison Bot (MIN) 104.
Canby: Taylor Gorder 97, Natalie Morris 97, Kristy Schmidt 105, Scarlet Thorston 110.
Dawson-Boyd: Tracy Polzine 108, Raeann Tuff 111, Taylor Loose 113, Tiana Kruse 114.
Lac qui Parle Valley: Ali Dahle 112, Abby Stender 141, Shannon Busse 153.
Lakeview: Whitney Fischer 97, Hailey Penske 130, Mikenna Radke 135, Briatta Buntjer 142.
Lincoln HI: Kyra Gores 97, Miranda Jerzak 116, Allison Citterman 116, Brooklyn Downing 121.
MACCRAY: Bailee Hauser 91, Lauryn Wubben 114, Tiffany Mogard 120, Heather Hinrichs 167.
Minneota: Megan Evers 94, Alyssa Engler 101, Heidi Guttormsson 101, Allison Bot 104.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton: Hannah Kruger 85, Sarah Stanek 126.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton: Morgan Anderson 108, Morgan Benson 115, Annika Anderson 120, Emily Crumrine 142.