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Plenty of returning experience: Dickinson Trinity eyes state title after placing runner-up last year

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity sophomore Willy Jahner watches his chip shot on hole No. 17 during the 2013 Class B boys state golf tournament on May 29 at Prairie West Golf Course in Mandan. Jahner received all-state honors after placing in a tie for sixth.

The Dickinson Trinity boys golf team accepted runner-up trophy during the awards presentation at the 2013 Class B boys state golf tournament.

After scoring a season-worst 337 in the first round of the tournament, the Titans responded with a round of 323 on the second day.

A chip was placed on their shoulder and the Titans don’t plan to make the same mistakes twice.

“When you get into a state environment, it is completely different than the other tournaments we played in throughout the season,” Trinity head coach Tyler Reisenauer said. “The biggest issue we were dealing with is that we tried too hard. We didn’t treat it like a regular tournament and the kids put too much pressure on themselves.”

Trinity is relying on its youth as the team’s top two returners from last year’s teama are sophomores — Willy Jahner and Jaret Lee.

Both said this year’s goal is to win a state title.

“The last two years we’ve been wanting to win one, but we just haven’t,” said Jahner, who received all-state honors after he placed in a tie for sixth at state with a two-day score of 155. “We have some experience back, but the one thing is we are going to miss Nathaniel (Knopik, the Titans’ No. 1 golfer last season). He was a great leader and he always had a good score for us.”

Lee added: “We have a good shot of being real good this year. We just have to maintain it and keep getting better.”

The Titans also return their Nos. 4 and 5 golfers, senior David Pokorny and junior Connor Friske.

Having a wealth of returners is not only reassuring for the golfers, but for Reisenauer. However, the third-year head coach said the team needs to sharpen its mentality throughout the season, so the team performs the best it can during the Region 5 and state tournaments.

“It definitely makes my job easier, but the reason why I like coaching so much is because of the kids,” he said. “I have a great group of kids and it helps when they are good at golf too.

“What we are going to work on this year is the thought process leading up to the state tournament and work on that to get these guys more mentally prepared.”

The Titans open their season with the Bowman County Invitational at 10 a.m. Saturday.

For the past week, Trinity has been practicing in less-than-favorable conditions and Reisenauer knows a North Dakota spring isn’t at all predictable.

“It’s going to be nice to get the season going even though we are always fighting the elements with the weather,” he said.