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HHS takes third at MEC conference championship

The Hastings boys' golf team tied for third at the Metro East Conference championship. From left to right are Zack Johnson, Jack Williams, Terry Kuhn, Charlie Wenker, Sam Brown, Nick Dittrich and Coach Pete McGinnis. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 5
Nick Dittrich (right) and Jack Williams (left) were named All-Conference, while Terry Kuhn (middle) was named All-Conference Honorable Mention. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 5
Senior Zack Johnson holds his follow-through on his approach shot. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 5
Junior Jack Williams holds the flag while his playing partners putt. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 5
Junior Nick Dittrich tees off during the Metro East Conference championship at Keller Golf Course. Dittrich shot a 72 on the day. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 5

The Hastings boys' golf team put together a strong third-place finish at the Metro East Conference championship held May 24 at Keller Golf Course in Maplewood.

The Raiders tied with Mahtomedi for third with a team score of 312. St. Thomas Academy won the tournament to remain undefeated in MEC for the season and Hill-Murray finished in second.

Juniors Nick Dittrich and Jack Williams played extremely well and both came in with 18-hole rounds in the 70s.

Dittrich shot even par on both the front (35) and back (37) to finish at even with a 72. He started off strong and birdied the par-5 third and par-3 fourth consecutively before finishing his front nine bogey-bogey-birdie-bogey. Dittrich started the back nine with a bang when he eagled the par-5 10th, but gave those two strokes back when he double bogeyed the par-3 15th. He finished birdie bogey again to finish his round.

Williams shot one-over-par on the front and two-over on the back to come in with a 75. He too got off to a hot start with birdies on the first two holes, but then bogeyed both par-3s on the front and ended with another bogey to go into the turn one-over. The back nine was a mix of birdies and bogeys for Williams but he finished with the best score in his group.

Both Dittrich and Williams agreed that the greens were the toughest part of the course that day.

"The greens were really tough today," Dittrich explained. "They were fast and the pins were in tough spots.

"The fairways were tough, they are all slanted, and the greens have these big hills," Williams said.

Freshman Terry Kuhn had the third best score, just missing the 70s with an 81. Senior Charlie Wenker shot a 84, while senior Zack Johnson and freshman Sam Brown both shot 86s.

Both Dittrich and Williams agreed that the greens were the toughest part of the course that day.

Head coach Pete McGinnis said he was very happy with how his golfers played.

"Score-wise I was really pleased with it, we were hoping to be in this area," he said. "We tried to be in the top two and we came very close. It was just an outstanding performance by our top two kids, Nick Dittrich who shot a 72 and a 75 out of Jack (Williams). I thought some of our other kids didn't play quite as well on the back-side as they were looking to do, but overall I'm very pleased. The kids managed the course well."

Both Dittrich and Williams were named Metro East All-Conference, while Kuhn was named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

Dittrich, Williams and McGinnis all mentioned that the greens at Keller are very similar to what they will encounter at The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, where sections will be held. McGinnis also said that some of Hastings' best competition at sections will be Lakeville North and South, while the other schools like Owatonna and Rochester are relative unknowns.

Sections will be held on June 1 and June 3 in Lake City. The state tournament is June 13-14 at Bunker Hills Golf Course.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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