Boys golf: Raiders are young ... and goodIf all goes as planned, it is going to be one very good year for the Hastings boys golf team. It will also be a year with a number of underclassmen playing big roles for the Raiders. Coach Pete McGinnis has all kinds of varsity experience returning. The one strange part about all that experience is that most of it comes in the form of freshmen and an eighth-grader. Approximately 45 boys are out for the team.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
If all goes as planned, it is going to be one very good year for the Hastings boys golf team.
It will also be a year with a number of underclassmen playing big roles for the Raiders. Coach Pete McGinnis has all kinds of varsity experience returning. The one strange part about all that experience is that most of it comes in the form of freshmen and an eighth-grader.
Approximately 45 boys are out for the team.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” McGinnis said. “The lineups will change. With the improvement the kids are making, it’s going to force others to continue to work hard. That’s a good thing.
“We’re looking for depth. They are all kids who have put a lot of time in on the course. They’ve really helped each other get better.”
While the team is young, McGinnis has high hopes for this year’s team.
“Without a doubt, our goal is get to the top level of the conference and to compete for a section title,” McGinnis said. “We just need to be consistent. Within 100 yards, we need to be right on. We need to be very consistent around the greens and be efficient at getting up and down.”
This year’s captain is Jake Cooper.
Cooper is a freshman, entering his third season with the high school team.
“He’s a kid that works extremely hard at the game,” McGinnis said. “He’s a real student of the game. He has a good short game and he’s very smart on the course.
“I like his leadership. The kids had an opportunity to vote, and that’s somebody they chose that would be able to move them in the right direction.”
Eighth-grader Matthew Radke returns for the Raiders this year. He just missed qualifying for the state tournament as a seventh-grader at last year’s section tournament. He was one stroke shy of earning a spot in a playoff.
“He knows how to score on the course,” McGinnis said. “He knows where to hit the ball. He’s mentally tough, too. Last year, he came back in the section tournament and shot a 36 on the final nine holes. I thought that was remarkable, as a seventh-grader, to come back and just about make it all the way back to qualify for state.”
Sam Otto, another freshman, returns with varsity experience.
“He has great distance off the tee,” McGinnis said. “He has a lot of confidence out there.
Nick Tusa, another freshman, has varsity experience as well.
“He, again, is someone who spends a lot of time on the course,” McGinnis said. “He’s very smart. He loves the game. He’s able to put the ball where he needs to to be able to score.”
Sean Eglington, a senior, played on the section team last year and he returns to action for the Raiders. Josh Fox returns with experience, too. He is a senior as well.
Cole Carrigan is a sophomore who returns with varsity experience.
Former HHS golfer Jesse Polk has returned to the school to help McGinnis coach this season.
McGinnis expects Forest Lake to be the top team in the conference.
Hastings will be playing its matches here at the Hastings Country Club and Bellwood Oaks.
“Those two places are very good for us,” McGinnis said. “They give a lot of opportunities.”
The annual Don Saatzer Invitational is May 2 at the country club.
“We have a great schedule this year,” McGinnis said. “We’re going to play with a lot of the top teams in the state. We’ll be at the Tri-State, with the top 24 teams around the area. We’ll be playing at a tournament in Brainerd, we’ll be at the TPC and then Bunker Hills, too.”