Raiders repeat as section golf champs
It took longer than it was supposed to, but when all was said and done, the Hastings Raiders boys golf team got exactly the result it was looking for. They are the section champions again and have earned the right to compete at the state boys golf meet next week.
Hastings had a two-day total of 583 to finish six shots ahead of Lakeville North.
The meet started on Saturday at Montgomery National. After two hours of play, golfers were pulled off the course because of the weather. There was a one-hour delay, and teams went back out. Shortly thereafter, players were pulled again and action was postponed until Monday.
Monday came and prompted another postponement. Finally, on Tuesday, Hastings was able to finish its first 18 holes of the tournament. The Raiders turned in a season-low 287, an average of 71.75 per round for the four scoring golfers. Jacob Cooper led the way for Hastings with a school record 67, aided in part by a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole. Sam Otto had a 70, Matthew Radke had a 72 and Mark Huneke shot a 78 to conclude the scoring. Dominick Bacon had a 79 and Nick Tusa had an 82.
North, though, was close behind with a 290 and 18 holes remained.
“After playing so well and only being up by three shots with 18 holes to play, we knew we had to continue to keep playing the course and not worry about the other teams,” McGinnis said. “The boys never gave up the lead and at one point had a nine-stroke lead in the second round.”
Hastings ended up shooting a 296. North had a 299. Hastings won 583-589.
Radke had a 71, as did Cooper. Otto had a 77. Huneke and Bacon each had 78s.
“The character of the team showed today,” McGinnis said. “We had to go up against the No. 1 team in the state and the No. 1 player, but our depth and talent came out on top. These boys were determined to win this tournament and would not let down. The coaching staff was very proud of how well the boys managed the course, played shots around the greens and dealt with the pressure.”
Hastings will compete at the state meet on June 10-11 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.
About 18 months ago, the Raiders learned they were switching sections and moving into 1AAA. That meant they’d see Lakeville North at the section meet. The Panthers are certainly a big obstacle as they were the No. 1 team in the state this year.
“I believe this motivated us as a team to get better, because we knew this section had a lot of talent,” McGinnis said. “As it turned out, all the hard work paid off.”
Here are some highlights from the two days of play:
Otto lost a ball on his first hole of the section tournament and made a double bogey. He came right back to make three straight birdies and finished with a 70.
Radke made five birdies in his first round.
Cooper had rounds of 67 and 71, earning him a second-place finish in the section tournament with a two-day total of 138. He finished behind the top golfer in the state.
“He played with so much confidence and led the way for us,” McGinnis said.
This will be the 16th state meet appearance for the Raiders.