Boys golf: Wildcats' state goal is to play to their abilities
New London-Spicer heads to the the Class AA tournament ranked seventh in the state
JORDAN — As the Class AA boys state golf tournament gets underway Tuesday, the message from New London-Spicer head coach Jeff Boonstra to his golfers is simple: play to their abilities.
New London-Spicer last made an appearance in the state tournament in 2021, where it finished eighth of eight teams with a two-round total score of 650.
Boonstra is certain the results this season will be different for his Wildcats.
Led by senior Peyton Coahran, New London-Spicer ranks No. 7 in the state and has experience from 2021 to utilize in this year's state tournament.
"We have said this all year long ... [we just need to] play to our abilities. If we do that, based on our score, we'll be right there in the hunt," Boonstra said. "The thing that's nice about this group of boys is that all six of them have gotten down to par a couple of times. You just hope that they all can do it on the same day."
The goal heading into the state tournament is just as simple as his message to his golfers: perform at their level.
"We always talk about this. There's a reason it's called the state tournament. You have to play well," Boonstra said. "You don't just punch a ticket, you have to earn that ticket...you can see there's some pressure, but I don't see the pressure like we did to try to get out of the section."
Coahran, who is ranked No. 5 in the state, finished in third place in the 2021 individual state tournament.
A leader by example for New London-Spicer, the team goes when Coahran goes. He is a top-eight finalist for Mr. Minnesota this year.
"It means a lot," Coahran said of the honor. "It just shows that the hard work I've put in is finally paying off. There's a lot of good golfers in Minnesota and to be recognized as one of those top players is pretty cool."
With someone as skilled as Coahran, Boonstra tends to stay out of his way and let him play his "old-man golf."
Boonstra doesn't mean that in a bad way, at all.
"[Coahran's] a kid that can hit the ball. He's long, He's accurate," Boonstra said. "He plays old-man golf. He's down the middle, he chips on, he two-putts or one-putts and walks to the next hole. He is very seldom in trouble [on the golf course]."
Previously a four-sport athlete (baseball, basketball, football, golf), Coahran decided not to play baseball this year to focus on golf and his pursuit of hardware in his senior campaign.
Alongside Coahran, senior Noah Dietz and junior Nixon Harrier make up the top three slots for the Wildcats.
Freshman Blake Kath, eighth-grader Gabe Truscinski and senior Jake Rooney round out the New London-Spicer state tournament lineup.
Coahran is excited for one last run in the state tournament with his Wildcats teammates because of the his long-lasting relationship he has had with them.
"I think just being with these guys — we've been playing golf together for the past 10 years — ever since we were 6 or 7 years old," Coahran said of what excites him about the state tournament. "It is really cool to have one last tournament together."
Cloquet won the Class A team state tournament in 2021 after shooting a collective 598 and will looks to defend its title.
Boonstra and Co. travel to Jordan on Sunday, where the team will play a "for fun" practice round at Ridges at Sand Creek before participating in the sanctioned state practice round on Monday.
Minnewaska/BBE girls golf
The Minnewaska/Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE) girls golf team heads into the Class AA team state tournament ranked No. 24 in all classes. Last season, the team finished in fourth place in the state tournament (732).
Coached by Tony Janu, senior Berkley Steffen will lead the way for Minnewaska/BBE. She ranks No. 74 in individual play in the state.
Annika DeBoer will tee off first at noon Tuesday for Minnewaska/BBE.
DeBoer's five competing teammates follow shortly after: Ava Kollman (12:09), Paige Rupp (12:18), Alissa Thorfinnson (12:27), Arivia DeBoer (12:36) and Steffen (12:45).
The Lake City Tigers girls golf team looks to defend its title in the 2022 Class AA state tournament.
Willmar golfer in AAA
Willmar Cardinals senior golfer Kessa Mara will compete individually at the Class AAA state girls golf tournament Tuesday.
Mara, a 2022 Triple "A" Award scholarship recipient, will tee off at 1:12 p.m. at Bunker Hills Gold Club.
State Golf Championships
Class AA - Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan
Class AAA - Bunker Hills, Coon Rapids
Monday: Class AA and Class AAA practice rounds begin at 7 a.m.
Tuesday: Class AA and Class AAA tournament 1st rounds begin at 7:30 a.m. for boys and noon for girls.
Wednesday: Class AA and Class AAA tournament 2nd rounds begin 7:30 a.m. for boys and noon for girls.
Teams competing - Class AA (Boys)
Blake, Cloquet, Holy Family Catholic, New-London Spicer, Pequot Lakes, Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Roseau and Totino-Grace.
Teams competing - Class AA (Girls)
Fergus Falls, Jordan, Lake City, Mesabi East, Minnewaska/BBE, Pequot Lakes, Providence and St. Croix Lutheran Academy.
Teams competing - Class AAA (Boys)
Alexandria Area, Chanhassen, Eastview, Edina, Lakeville North, Princeton, Spring Lake Park and Stillwater Area.
Teams competing - Class AAA (Girls)
Alexandria Area, Eastview, Eden Prairie, Edina, Elk River, Lakeville South, Maple Grove and Stillwater Area.
Area individual competing athletes
Class AA Boys: junior Riley Larson, Minnewaska/BBE; senior Sam Tipka, Litchfield
Class AA Girls: senior Kaity Kusler, Litchfield