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Surprise! Midgets win West Region golf title

All season long, Dickinson boys golf coach Sara Berglund has been waiting for her team to walk off the course with low scores across the board. On Thursday at the West Region tournament, the Midgets finally played the way their coach envisioned t...

All season long, Dickinson boys golf coach Sara Berglund has been waiting for her team to walk off the course with low scores across the board.

On Thursday at the West Region tournament, the Midgets finally played the way their coach envisioned they could.

Dickinson used every bit of its home-course advantage at windswept Heart River Golf Course and edged Bismarck Century by just two strokes to finish with a 319 and win the West Region championship.

It was the first tournament win for the team this season.

"I'm very, very happy with what happened today," said Berglund, who is in her first year as head coach. "They all have the ability to shoot in the 70s. Even with this wind, they did it today, which was the day to do it."

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Senior Jake Bauer led the way for Dickinson with a 77. Senior John Hanstad finished with a 78 and sophomore Chandler Pender carded a 79. Jarl Abrahamson added an 85 to round out the Midgets' scoring.

"It's tough to get everybody to shoot low on the same day," Bauer said. "Today we got it all together and instilled a little confidence in ourselves coming in."

Bauer said earlier in the week that the forecasted high winds and cold weather didn't bother him as much as it intrigued him. He believed Dickinson would play well in the weather based on its knowledge of the course.

The senior turned out to be right.

"I don't think it (the weather) affected us that much at all," Bauer said. "The rest of the guys, from other teams, I think they struggled a little bit."

One player who didn't struggle was Thomas Welk of Bismarck St. Mary's.

The University of Wisconsin-bound senior earned medalist honors with an even-par 72 through the stiff wind that, according to the National Weather Service, gusted up to 45 mph.

"I just tried to keep it out of trouble on every hole," said Welk, who was also named West Region senior athlete of the year. "As long as you keep it out of trouble, you can get it up on the greens and get up and down for par."

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Welk's trick to taking the wind out of the equation was simply keeping the ball low.

"I was able to control it for the most part," Welk said. "It definitely helps if you keep it low in this weather."

His score also helped the Saints qualify for the state tournament in a field that saw the top six teams - those who qualify for the state tournament - separated by just 13 strokes.

Paced by Peter Pominis' 77, Century took second with a 321. Cody Duchscherer's 76 led Minot High to third place at 327. St. Mary's was fourth at 328, Williston was fifth with a 330 and Bismarck High, which averaged a team score of 312 during the regular season, was sixth with a 332.

Belcourt (344), Mandan (347) and Jamestown (370) rounded out the field.

With the Class A state tournament on June 3 and 4 at Heart River, the Midgets are hoping for same strokes of luck they had Thursday.

"It feels good," Bauer said. "It gives us a lot of confidence going into state."

West Region Tournament

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At Heart River Golf Course, Dickinson

Team scores: (Top six automatically qualify for state tournament) 1, Dickinson High 319. 2, Bismarck Century 321. 3, Minot High 327. 4, Bismarck St. Mary's 328. 5, Williston 330. 6, Bismarck High 332. 7, Belcourt 344. 8, Mandan 347. 9, Jamestown 370.

Individual Top 11: (All automatically qualify for state tournament) 1, Thomas Welk, St. Mary's, 72. 2, Cody Duchscherer, Minot, 76. 3, Peter Pominis, Century, 77. 4, Jake Bauer, Dickinson, 77. 5, John Hanstad, Dickinson, 78. 6, Mike DeLorme, Williston, 78. 7, Chandler Pender, Dickinson, 79. 8, Mike Balzer, Bismarck, 80. 9, Zach Bondley, Century, 80. 10, Matt Menge, Century, 81. 11, B.J. Maher, Williston, 81.

Scores by team

Dickinson (319): Jake Bauer 77, John Hanstad 78, Chandler Pender 79, Jarl Abrahamson 85, Cole Baker 92, John O'Brien 99.

Century (321): Peter Pominis 77, Zach Bondley 80, Matt Menge 81, Kavin Dvorak 82, Jack Bietz 82, Rob McLeod 87,

Minot (327): Cody Duchscherer 76, Justin Redding 83, Rand Hammer 84, Ryan Rasanen 84, Skyler Kjos 86, Ian Visina 90,

St. Mary's (328): Thomas Welk 72, Michael Gilchrist 84, Davis Becker 85, Casey Dohn 87, Brett Wike 88, Jack Hoeven 90,

Williston (330): Mike DeLorme 78, B.J. Maher 81, McCade Evanson 85, Joe Kemp 86, Heath Glenn 86, Robby Keehn 100,

Bismarck (332): Mike Balzer 80, Casey Gleich 84, Ryan Malm 84, Cole Rueb 84, Jordan Bosche 85, Oliver Boeckle 87,

Belcourt (344): Gabe Gourneau 82, Jade Malaterre 83, Navin Gillis 88, Weston Poitra 91, Ian Pays 91, John Desjarlais 92,

Mandan (347): Colter Schwagler 83, Brandon Boff 84, Taylor Bohn 80, Coulee Luger 91, Andren Muller 91, Tucker beechie 94,

Jamestown (370): Blake Harris 86, Miles Traiser 87, Austin Hoggarth 98, Nick Graves 99, Kyle Goehner 102, Mitch Smyth 110.

Awards

Coach of the year: Mike Bichler, Bismarck High.

Senior of the year: Thomas Welk, St. Mary's (other nominees, Gabe Gourneau, Belcourt; Mike DeLorme, Williston).

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