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Junior Nick Dittrich qualifies for state golf for second straight year

Junior Nick Dittrich poses with his medal after being co-medalist at section golf and qualifying for the state tournament for the second year in a row. Photo by Pete McGinnis

The Hastings boys' golf team took fourth at the rain-shortened section 1AAA golf tournament at The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City Thursday and Saturday, June 1 and 3. Junior Nick Dittrich qualified for the Minnesota State High School League state boys' golf tournament for the second year in a row and was a co-medalist at the section tournament, which was shortened from 36 to 27 holes due to weather.

Hastings was fifth out of 12 teams after 18 holes on day one with a score of 326, behind Lakeville South, Lakeville North, Northfield and Farmington. Dittrich led the Raiders on that first day with a 73, while fellow junior Jack Williams shot an 81. Freshmen Sam Brown and Terry Kuhn came in with 85 and 87 respectively. Senior Jacob Erickson shot a 93 and fellow senior Zack Johnson shot a 98.

Head coach Pete McGinnis said the difficulty of the greens helped contribute to some higher scores.

"I thought we gave a few strokes away on the greens, something we have been good at of late," he said.

With the second day shortened by the weather, Dittrich was able to shoot a 37 in order to make up the stroke he was behind first place. He tied for first with junior Casey Parker of Northfield with a total of 110. Brown shot a 40 on day two to finish 25th with a total of 125, and Williams continued his solid play by shooting a 42 for a total of 123 and finished 24th. Erickson added a 44 to finish in 49th with a 137, while just ahead of him was Kuhn who shot a 47 to finish with a 134 and to take 43rd. Johnson shot a 48 on day two for a total of 146 and finished 52nd.

McGinnis also had nothing but good things to say about Dittrich's course management and accuracy.

"Nick played the difficult course as well as a golfer can," he explained. "Trouble is off every tee (and the) greens are quick and challenging. His success for the tournament was related to his ability to hit fairways and greens. He hit 15 fairways and 19 greens in regulation, and had just 48 putts for the 27 holes. He also made four birdies."

With the end of the season here for the rest of his team, McGinnis said that each golfer had rounds that helped contribute to this season's success and continue to build the program.

"I am very proud of these guys, this is a course that can turn your score in a hurry if you don't put it in the right places," McGinnis said. "All six kids put together some great rounds during the season to help us finish in third-place in the conference. We lose seniors Zack Johnson and Charlie Wenker. They both continued to improve and really helped our team move forward. I appreciate the time and commitment to our program. We had 45 kids out for golf this season because our older kids know how to help out and be good role models."

Dittrich will compete at the state meet June 13-14 at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids, where he will play 18 holes each day. He won the Bunker Hills Invite at that course earlier this season over a very large field like the state tournament.

"Nick has an outstanding chance to play well at Bunker (Hills)," McGinnis said. "Earlier this spring he won the Bunker Hills Invite with a two-under-par 70 against 198 golfers. I know he will be ready to compete with the best golfers in the state."

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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