Titans still young, but hoping to make their mark this season

Dickinson Trinity's boys golf team is well-positioned to improve on its ninth-place performance at state in 2009 as it returns everyone. "We still have a pretty young team," said second-year Trinity head coach Brock Cuskelly. Sophomore Lance Pend...

Dickinson Trinity sophomore Lance Pender
Dickinson Trinity sophomore Lance Pender will be the Titans' No. 1 golfer headed into the season.

Dickinson Trinity's boys golf team is well-positioned to improve on its ninth-place performance at state in 2009 as it returns everyone.

"We still have a pretty young team," said second-year Trinity head coach Brock Cuskelly.

Sophomore Lance Pender led the Titans individually at state with an eighth-place showing. He shot the best round on Day 2 of the state tournament with a 72.

Sam Jilek and Christian Rodakowski are the only seniors on the team. Juniors Michael Mann and Nick Weir, along with freshman Nathaniel Knopik, round out the Titans.

Besides Pender's performance at state, Trinity's other five golfers had a tough time in Jamestown.


Knopik tied for 39th, rebounding from a first round 88, Jilek tied for 70th, Mann tied for 81st. Rodakowski was 129th, and Weir tied for 131st.

"They were glad to get to state last year, but coming back as seniors, they want to see if they can push it a little farther," Cuskelly said of Jilek and Rodakowski.

Cuskelly said that his golfers took away two lessons from state.

"The short game and head game are the big things they took away from last year that they knew they had to work on," Cuskelly said.

One more year of experience under their belts won't hurt either, Cuskelly said, especially with the talent he knows his golfers possess.

"Having those younger guys that perform gives you something to look forward to," Cuskelly said. "When they are playing that well, that young, they have the basic building blocks to build on."

One team that returns a good part of its lineup from last season is two-time Class B champion Hazen.

But even the Bison have their work cut out for them in the quest for a third title.


They'll have to mesh several junior varsity golfers into the lineup after three seniors graduated last year.

Conor Borud -- the state medalist in 2008 -- is the only senior on a young team.

Junior Brady Hillerud and sophomore Brett Leier are the other returners from the team that Hazen head coach Darrell Berglund took to the state tournament last year.

Berglund said he needs Borud and Hillerud to be more consistent, especially with the loss of state medalist Chad Marshall, who graduated. Leier hasn't nailed a spot on the varsity team yet, but Berglund said he'll be counted on.

"He's one I expect in the top six," Berglund said.

Borud and Hillerud tied for sixth at state last year, five shots behind Marshall.

While fielding a few golfers who are capable of competing for medalist honors is nice, Berglund said all six on the team need to step up and shoot low for the Bison to succeed as a team.

"You have to be pretty solid through the top six," Berglund said.


Finding golfers to slot in those spots will be the challenge for Berglund this year.

"It's a huge question mark," Berglund said. "We have a lot of young kids."

Most of the boys who will compete for the varsity spots are freshman and sophomores.

Compared to last year, the team already has a leg up by being out on the course. In 2009, the Bison couldn't practice at their home course until early May.

All is not well this year with Hazen's home course.

The driving range at Hazen Golf Club is closed while reconstruction work is taking place.

Berglund said it changes how he coaches, as his golfers don't have the opportunity to hit the range and work on their swings.

"You don't realize how much you use that driving range until you don't have it," Berglund said.


Other top individuals from Region 5 who return include Killdeer senior Kale Oversen, and Bowman County seniors John Lockert and Brock Boos.

At state in 2009, Oversen tied for 25th, Lockert tied for 27th and Boos tied for 49th.

Bison girls going for three-peat

As with the boys, the Hazen girls golf team is gunning for a third consecutive Class B title. And just like the boys team, the girls lost three seniors from last year's team.

"I would love to have a three-peat," Hazen head coach Kathy Berglund said. "But I think it's going to depend on how much time outside of practice the girls put in."

The Bison had to fight to win the title last year, turning a seven-stroke deficit after the first round into a 12-stroke margin of victory.

"I would never have guessed we would have won a title and not have a girl in the top 10," Berglund said.

Seniors Kate Berg and Stef Bohrer, and freshman Jinny Miller return.


"We have some younger girls that have potential, but again, it depends on how time they are willing to commit," Berglund said.

Miller was the Bison's top finisher at state as she tied for 11th.

The Bison's six girls were separated by 10 strokes from top to bottom.

"It really does speak to their balance," Berglund said.

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