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Midgets shooting for a trip to state

The West Region boys golf tournament may be in the right place at the right time for Dickinson High. With the team treading the line of qualifying for the Class A state tournament, the Midgets are thanking their lucky stars that the tournament is...

The West Region boys golf tournament may be in the right place at the right time for Dickinson High.

With the team treading the line of qualifying for the Class A state tournament, the Midgets are thanking their lucky stars that the tournament is this morning at Heart River Golf Course.

"Overall, our guys are going to gain some confidence and the nerves are going to be down a little bit," Midgets coach Sara Berglund said.

Each team is trying to gain a bid to the state team tournament - which is also at Heart River in early June - by finishing in the top six today.

Midgets senior Jake Bauer hopes Dickinson will have even more of an advantage with weather forecasts calling for high winds and rain.

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"It's our home course, I think we do have an advantage. We get to play there all year," Bauer said. "We know how to play when it's windy and when it's rainy."

Regardless of the conditions, qualifying for state will be no easy feat.

While Bismarck High is on top of the region with an average team score of 312, there isn't much breathing room between the next five teams.

Bismarck Century, Minot High, Bismarck St. Mary's, Dickinson and Williston are separated by about 11 strokes on average and currently hold the second through sixth spots, respectively.

However, Belcourt has also proven it can have big days too.

The Braves, who are eighth in the conference in average, shot a 328 for second place at Jamestown Country Club.

In the final regular-season tournament at Prairie West Golf Course in Mandan last Thursday, Bismarck won with a 309 while Dickinson and Belcourt finished in a tie for last with 329s.

"We know it's so tight," Berglund said.

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Still, after a week's worth of practicing intangibles, the Midgets feel confident in their abilities.

"The top priority is making it to state," said Bauer, who averages an 83. "I think we have a good chance of making it into the top three or four. That should be a goal coming in."

Even though it hosts the state tournament, Dickinson doesn't have a single individual qualified.

Sophomore Chandler Pender came close, finishing the regular season with a 79.86 average for 13th in the conference. The top 10 earn all-West Region and automatically advance to state.

However, any player who shoots in the top 10 today or qualifies as part of a team automatically advances to state.

Berglund believes that if each player can get into a groove, the Midgets have a chance of generating an upset.

Senior John Hanstad carded a 74 at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot. Pender's best is a 75 at Hawktree Golf Course in Bismarck. Bauer's low was a 76 at Prairie West. Freshman Jarl Abrahamson shot a 79 at Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora and junior Cole Baker's best was an 81 at Heart River earlier this season.

"I'm hoping they can all come in with that low score," Berglund said.

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