Golf roundup: Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks ready to get at it

Jun. 7—BECKER — In an effort to prepare for the state meet, Dawson-Boyd's boys and girls golf teams played a couple rounds Thursday and Friday at Pebble Creek Golf Course.

The Blackjacks liked what they saw.

"I think they're definitely looking forward to it," Dawson-Boyd head coach Cory Larson said. "I think it's a phenomenal course and a great site for the state tournament."

For the first time, both of Dawson-Boyd's teams compete in the state Class A tournament, which gets underway Tuesday and concludes Wednesday.

For the boys, it's their sixth state appearance, but they're first since 2015. The Blackjacks won a state title in 2014 and also have a third-place finish on their resume.

For the girls, it's the first state appearance in school history.

Larson believes a top-five finish for the boys is a realistic goal. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley appears to be the favorite. For the girls, a top-three finish is also a possibility.

That's based on how Dawson-Boyd performed in the Section 5A tournaments in Willmar.

Dawson-Boyd's six-player boys contingent heading to state includes Evan Mork, Drew Hjelmeland and Carson Stratmoen, who finished third, fourth and fifth respectively, in 5A. Landon Kemen, Evan Menning and Jameson Garcia also are on the squad.

The girls are represented by Lindsey Lund, Alyssa Swedzinski, Kylar Hjelmeland, Claire Stratmoen, Laura Schreier and Reese Ochsendorf.

Larson said the mental preparation for the biggest tournament of the season is simple.

"For one, you just try to convince them that it's just another golf meet," Larson said. "There are a few more spectators, of course. But once you get away from the clubhouse, it's time to focus on what you always try to do."

Larson said the difficulty of 5A with many excellent teams helped his squad prepare for state. The girls team is battle-tested after overcoming so many good teams.

"We feel like on the girls side, the competitiveness of our section helps you prepare," he said.

Area golfers competing in the state Class A tournament this year include Section 5A boys champion Carson Besonen of Lac qui Parle Valley, section runner-up Ryan Schrupp of Renville County West, BOLD's Grant Pfarr, Benson's Charlie Graff and Central Minnesota Christian's Joseph Graves.

Girls state qualifiers include Lac qui Parle Valley's Molly Halvorson and Peyton Sachs, BOLD's Kenna Henriksen and Alison Kadlec and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's Brooke Brekke.

Minnewaska's girls team missed the Class AA tournament in 2013 for the first time in Tony Janu's 13 years as head coach. Next week, he takes his youngest team to the state Class AA tournament Tuesday at the Ridges of Sand Creek in Jordan.

The six golfers headed to state include junior Arivia DeBoer, sophomore Ava Kollman, ninth-grader Annika DeBoer and eighth-graders Kyra Nelson, Anna Kollman and Lillie Ogdahl.

"They live up here," said Janu during a team practice at Minnewaska Golf Course.

Janu means that figuratively and literally.

"We've got two sets of sisters (Arivia and Annika DeBoer and Ava and Anna Kollman) and both families live right on the course," he said.

Janu believes a top-three finish is a realistic goal at state.

"We'd love to get to the podium, which means the top three," he said. "We've played against half the field and the only team we haven't beaten is Detroit Lakes (the tournament favorite)."

This is Minnewaska's 15th appearance in the state girls' tournament. The Lakers have won five state championships, taken second twice and third once. Included are state titles in 2006, '07, '08, '09 and '10.

Also competing in the Class AA girls state tournament is New London-Spicer's Rylie Harrier.

Boys competitors in Class AA include New London-Spicer's Gabe Truscinski, Paynesville's Winston Carlson and Minnewaska's Thatcher Sherlin.

Willmar's Fernando Ossa Letelier competes in the state Class AAA tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.

Ossa Letelier, a senior, finished fourth in the Section 8AAA tournament in Sauk Centre, shooting rounds of 82 and 85 to finish with a 167 and earn the state berth.