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Radke qualifies for state golf meet

The Hastings boys golf team will have one representative at the state golf meet next week. Eighth-grader Matthew Radke has qualified for the big meet, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.

Radke shot a 78 on the first day of play at Keller, and a 77 on the second day at Bunker Hills.

The second round didn't exactly start out well, as Radke had a 41 on the front nine. He came back with a strong back nine, thanks in large part to an eagle on the par four, 11th hole.

"That put him in position to qualify for the state tournament, and he maintained that lead and shot a 36 on the back side," coach Pete McGinnis said. "As an eighth-grader, it's quite an accomplishment."

On the 11th hole, Radke was out about 130 yards. He hit the ball past the hole and spun it back.

Last year, Radke missed advancing to the state tournament by just one stroke.

The top team takes its six golfers to state, and then the next five individuals go. Radke earned one of those five spots.

As a team, Hastings finished 21 strokes behind Eastview. The Lightning had scores of 311 and 312 (623) and Hastings had scores of 326 and 318 (644).

The strong second-day total was in large part due to an incredible round turned in by Jacob Cooper. He had an 85 on the first day after two rough holes where he was 7-over-par.

On the second day, he had the round's second best score, turning in a 74.

"That was very impressive to see," McGinnis said. "He was just striking the ball well. He has such a good short game, too. He just put it all together. He had a great month of May."

Cooper is a freshman.

Nick Tusa, another freshman, had an 84 on day No. 2.

Tusa, Cooper and Radke all earned All Suburban East Conference honors this year.

Cooper was the SEC's No. 7 golfer. Tusa was No. 11 and Radke was No. 12.

Sean Eglinton, a senior, had an 83 to round out the second day of scoring. Sam Otto, a freshman, had an 88 and Mark Huneke, another freshman, had a 96.

"The section is very competitive," McGinnis said. "We're looking to get the team there, but we'll take it in steps. We'll build on what Matthew has done here. I know all these kids will keep working to get better."

Hastings finished fourth in the conference, and the team finished incredibly strong. The Raiders won the conference meet at Hastings and then the conference tournament at Keller.

Of the 45 players on this year's team, 42 are coming back for next year.

Day 1

Hastings shot a 326 on the first day of play at Keller.

That put Hastings in fourth place behind Eastview (311), Eagan (317) and Apple Valley (319).

All the teams battled against very windy conditions during the round. There were only six golfers (out of 78) who broke 80.

"Club selection was difficult to judge, and I know we got into some tough spots behind the greens that cost us a few shots," McGinnis said.

Radke led the way with a 78. Tusa had an 80, Mark Huneke shot an 83, Jacob Cooper shot 85, Sean Eglinton shot 89 and Sam Otto had a 90.