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Area golf preview: Gregory, Hanson boys look to contend once again

Apr. 8—MITCHELL — Last season's Class B boys golf championship had plenty of action from Mitchell-area schools, with Gregory, Hanson and Ethan all placing in the top-four at the state tournament.

And each of the three schools return golfers this season that lifted their teams to those top finishes.

The Gorillas, who ran away with the championship last season by 29 strokes, return fifth-place finisher Trey Murray and 87th-place finisher Luke Stukel. However, Gregory's quest for a three-peat requires replacing the production of two of their top players from a season ago; individual state champion Eli Fogel and ninth-place finisher Kade Stukel.

Hanson returns three of its four varsity scorers from last year's second-place team. That includes the Beavers' top-two scorers in the state tournament; Ben Wilber, who tied for fifth at state, and AJ Wilber, who was 15th. Will Jarding (70th place) also returns.

Of Ethan's three-man team that carried the Rustlers to a fourth-place finish, Rylan Gerlach (T13) and Aiden Riggs (T33) have remaining eligibility.

Other Class B area boys with strong 2023 seasons who will return are Wessington Springs' Blake Larson, who placed fourth in state, Howard's Jackson Remmers, who was 18th in state while at McCook Central/Montrose, and Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Trysten Eide, who was 24th in state.

The Class B state golf tournaments will take place June 3-4 in Brookings, with the Class B girls at Edgebrook Golf Course and the Class B boys at Brookings Country Club. The Region 4B meet will take place for boys and girls golfers on May 21 at Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell.

In a Class A girls golf division that was dominated by the likes of Sioux Falls Christian, Vermillion and St. Thomas More last season, a handful of area schools with strong 2023 finishes have the returning golfers necessary to improve their ranks.

Chamberlain returns all five members of its varsity team that placed 11th last year, including freshman Trey Speer, who finished an area-best 12th in the state meet last season, along with Alexis Cronk, Natalie Kelsey, Natalie Nelson and Jocelyn Haak.

Winner Area will bring back three of its five golfers from a team that placed sixth in the Class A state tournament, in sophomore Gracie Root (T27), Leila Balsinger (T38) and Emily Sachtjen (81st).

Four of Parkston's five varsity golfers from last year's state-qualifying team have remaining eligibility, including Gracie Oakely, Finley Bogenreif, Karlie Konfrst and Avery Bogenreif.

The Class A state girls golf championship will take place June 3-4 at Bakker Crossing Golf Course in Sioux Falls.

In Class B, 2022 state champion Burke will vie for a return to the top spot, as three varsity golfers from the Cougars' fifth-place finish in 2023, Olivia Bull, Calli Davis and Paige Becker, are on the 2024 roster.

Last year's fifth-place team, Howard, graduated two of its top golfers Trinity Palmquist, and Piper Thompson, but returns Halle Schulz.

2023 state qualifier McCook Central/Montrose returns 12th-place state finisher Maddy Lauck, along with varsity golfers Khloie Klinkhammer and Lauren Roling.