Returning champs have high aspirations

Hazen boys golf coach Darrell Berglund would like to see his kids get outside a little bit more. But if they can't, there are still plenty of things they can do.

Hazen boys golf coach Darrell Berglund would like to see his kids get outside a little bit more. But if they can't, there are still plenty of things they can do.

"You can do a lot if you use your imagination," Berglund said. "We spend a couple nights in the classroom, watching video and PowerPoint presentations on rules. Give our kids a rules test ... we videotaped the kids' swings. We try to get as much accomplished inside as we can."

Those intricate details could be one of many reasons Hazen enters the 2009 season as the defending Class B state champions.

The Bison return everyone from a team that topped Fargo Oak Grove by 18 strokes at state last May in Fargo. Nonetheless, Berglund downplayed any talk of repeating.

"I always look at it as cautiously optimistic," Berglund said. "It's a long summer. You don't know what other kids around you are doing. A lot of kids are serious about their golf. You can have a powerhouse team in basketball and not play very well and stay home from the state tournament. Golf is the same way."


Defending state medalist Conor Borud returns for his junior season. He shot a pair of 73s at state to earn top honors. Joining him are seniors Chad Marshall and Cameron Dietz, and sophomore Brady Hillerud.

"Those kids are my main four," Berglund said. "I could have a dozen kids fighting for those last two spots."

The top four golfers each won at least one tournament last year and Berglund said the Bison have more talent waiting in the wings. Fourteen freshmen came out for golf.

"We have some promising players in that freshman class," Berglund said. "I expect some really good competition fighting for the fifth and sixth spots."

The Dickinson Trinity boys golf team will be relying on youth to get it done. First-year coach Brock Cuskelly is a 2006 graduate of Trinity when he helped the Titans placed second at the state meet.

"Our main goal is to get back to state," Cuskelly said. "I'll definitely help them as much as I can. The rest is up to them. As young as they are and the talent they have, they control their own destiny. It's how much they want to work at it."

Freshman Lance Pender has earned the top spot followed by eighth-grader Nathaniel Knopik and junior Sam Jilek. Junior Christian Rodakowski will golf in the No. 4 position, and sophomores Nick Weir and Michael Mann are fifth and sixth, respectively.

Cuskelly said that, for now, he has just six kids on varsity.


"Those six are more or less set," Cuskelly said. "If one proves capable of playing at a higher spot, then I'll definitely consider it."

The youth of the Titans is something Cuskelly said he sees as a positive and negative.

"They have really good golf swings they can build off," Cuskelly said. "They all have very good golf sense and they're very mature on the golf course."

However, gaining experience will be crucial, Cuskelly said.

"They need to get a couple of tournaments under their belt to get the mentality of what it's like to compete instead of playing with friends in the summer," Cuskelly said. "As the year progresses and they get older, it should come pretty natural to them."

Area teams will attempt to hold their first meet Friday at Watford City.

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