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Blue Hawks use trip to Arizona to prepare for spring season

Ahead of the fall season, Dickinson State golfers are settled in from a summer of swinging. Ahead of the spring season, no such luxury exists. When the snow finally melts and the Blue Hawks are able to compete, they're swings have been limited.

Freshman Dickinson State golfer Carter Klein tied for first and shot a 146 at the DSU Invitational at Heart River Golf Course Monday. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State sophomore golfer Carter Klein tied for first and shot a 146 at the DSU Invitational at Heart River Golf Course during the 2017 fall season. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Ahead of the fall season, Dickinson State golfers are settled in from a summer of swinging. Ahead of the spring season, no such luxury exists. When the snow finally melts and the Blue Hawks are able to compete, they're swings have been limited.

Making matters worse, the season is incredibly short as well. Dickinson State will more than likely start its season on the final weekend of March, but where is still in the works. The Blue Hawks will definitely hold a home tournament, which is scheduled for April 7 and 8, but could be bumped a week if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Ideally, Dickinson State golfers will have two or three opportunities ahead of the North Star conference meet on the last weekend in April.

"That is very stressful," sophomore Breilyn Riggin said. "It's really nice that we have the simulator, but it'd be really nice if we had some outside time and were able to work on things we struggle with, especially before the home tournament. That's when all of us girls, I'm assuming, want to show our best effort."

A spring break trip to Arizona, though, served a huge role in preparing the Blue Hawks for the approaching season. The Blue Hawks played at Legacy, Longbow, Devils Claw and Lone Tree Golf Courses, all in the Phoenix-Mesa area.

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"We had ties to almost every one of the courses that got us deals, so it was great," head coach Thadd O'Donnell said. "I think, getting to Arizona was a huge lift for us because they were in the simulator all winter, then to go down there and play outside and really soak all that stuff up. So now, going back to the simulator for a week or so, just working on some individual things isn't too bad."

O'Donnell thinks the greatest affliction heading into the start of the season, is the short game.

"There's nothing you can do indoors, other than being outside and chipping and putting. Obviously, an indoor putting facility is going to be way faster than what they're going to see," O'Donnell said. "It's just a confidence level of, 'I'm hitting the ball well,' to the club selection, what would be the right thing for wherever they're at."

O'Donnell said while in Arizona, the women all shot in the 80s, while the men scored in the 70s.

The men's team has just four golfers in junior Jaret Lee, sophomore Carter Klein and freshmen Jeremiah Paine and Hunter Myran.

Myran, a Dickinson High graduate, said he feels more comfortable going into the spring season, as he got his first taste of college competition in the fall.

"The experience was a lot different than high school, obviously," Myran said. "The play was a lot higher. Just becoming more prepared, and knowing what to expect when I get to the tournaments will help a lot."

The first day in Arizona, Myran shot a 75, and agreed with O'Donnell that throughout the season putting will pose a problem, but he is confident in his driving ability.

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"I'm usually pretty straight off the tee so I can keep it in play, which gets me around the greens usually in two," Myran said. "So, I can get up and down for a par."

In the 2017 spring NSAA conference meet, the Blue Hawk men finished sixth of six teams, with the University of Jamestown winning the day. The Jimmies are now in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, though.

Klein paced Dickinson State, finishing 23rd with a four-round total of 320. Lee came away with a 342, good for 27th.

The 2019 women's team consists of six golfers: Riggin, Abbey Aklestad, Natalee Hafer, Aimee Kittleson, Jace Steier and senior Riley Helmick.

Helmick led DSU at the 2018 spring conference championship, finishing 13th with a four-round total of 354. Kittleson was next with a 364, as Riggin. Steier and Hafer followed with respective scores of 370, 387 and 390. The Dickinson State women finished fifth of six teams, but again, defending champion University of Jamestown, is no longer in the same conference.

"Me and Jace, we shoot around the same, but it's nice that we shoot the same because we push each other to be a lot better," Riggin said. "We have that inner competition ... Riley is our senior girl. She's really good. She hits the ball so long. She's really good for me and Jace to go after. ... We all push each other that's for sure."

Freshman Dickinson State golfer Jace Steier shot a 174 earning her second place in the DSU Invitational at Heart River Golf Course Monday. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Freshman Dickinson State golfer Jace Steier shot a 174 earning her second place in the DSU Invitational at Heart River Golf Course Monday. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: COLLEGE GOLF
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