The season ended on day one of the Section 6AA Tournament at Blackberry Ridge in Sartell for the Milaca boys golf team on June 2.
The team, which consisted of only a few players with varsity experience this season, shot a team score of 392 and placed 14th out of 16 teams. Only the top four teams advanced to the tournament’s second day.
However, one Milaca golfer, sophomore Sam Johnson, nearly advanced as an individual. Eight individuals get to play the second day. Johnson, who shot an 86 thanks to a birdie on his 17th hole, finished two strokes off the 84 cutoff.
“After struggling most of the season, Sam figured a few things out and shot his best golf in the end,” Reetz said. “His confidence and swing improved and he turned in some very good performances the last week and a half.”
Other Milaca scores included a 99 from senior Jared Gould, a 101 from junior Cole Patten and a 106 from junior Bennett Lerud.
Lerud had been a leader and had been shooting in the mid-40s all season for nine hole tournaments.
“Considering this was Bennett Lerud’s first year of competitive golf, it gives some explanation as to his consistency,” Reetz said. “I would expect that he would come back with a strong senior season.”
Brian Miller added a 114 and Cole Barsody had a 116 to round out the Milaca scores.
Staples-Motley took the team title. The individual qualifiers for state were: Carter Kranz of Sauk Centre; Kyle Haag and Sam LaBine of St. Cloud Cathedral; Nicholas Demuth of Rocori and David Schneider from Albany.
As for the Wolves as a team, they began the season as the seventh team at the pre-section, and were also seventh according to their average scores. However, their scores lowered with three first-time section players that competed on June 2. Reetz said that eligibility and commitment issues kept several of Milaca’s top golfers from hitting the links for the tournament.
“What started out as a season with a lot of promise fizzled in the end,” Reetz said. “It was very disappointing.”
As for next season, the entirety of the section lineup, minus Gould, as well as strong players Michael Nelson, Leif Larson, Blake Kiel and Noel Flor should return next season. Reetz said that all six varsity spots are open for anyone who shows their worthiness.
“Spots appear to be wide open to players willing to sacrifice some time, energy and put some rounds in over the summer,” Reetz said.