ROCHESTER — Lake City, Red Wing and Rochester Lourdes entered Monday's final round of the Section 1AA boys golf tournament at Eastwood Golf Course in Rochester within three strokes of each other. And Byron lurked just 10 shots off the top three.
A surprising or underwhelming round from any of the 18, or even 24, individuals on those teams could bring with it a state tournament, or a section championship that slipped away.
The Bears got the round of the day, as Hunter Fjersted fired a 70 for a two-day total of 145 that clinched medalist honors. But it was the Tigers that put together the best two days from a team, adding a 318 to a first-round 317 for a championship-winning 635. The Wingers followed with a 640, the Eagles a 643, and Byron a 664.
It's Lake City's first trip to the state tournament as a team since 2008.
"We've had individuals at state, but we just couldn't get over that last hurdle," said Lake City head coach Luther Berkeland. "But now we're a year older, and they're used to the pressure so they can play with more confidence. They realized that you don't have to make it look like you're on TV.
Brennan Rothgarn's 148 led Lake City, with Parker Schurhammer and Levi Herbst coming in with matching 163s. Thomas Huettl was the Tigers' final score with a 164.
Red Wing was led by Cecil Belisle, who is heading back to state as an individual with a second-place showing of 147. Luke Knudsen and Michael Stoffel both carded a 165, and Spencer Kronbeck closed out the Wingers with a 166.
"We're right there, we just needed a little something more behind Cecil," said Red Wing head coach Nate Gale. "But we finished the year very well, and we'll carry some momentum into next year. We'll be graduating two, including Spencer who was a three-year varsity player. But we should be just as good and hopefully better next year."
Cannon Falls' Addison Bahr also qualified for the individual state tournament with a fifth-place 159. In addition to Fjersted, Byron will also send Nick Hillemeier (6th, 161), and Lourdes will send Luke Alexander (4th, 151).
As for state, Lake City is hoping for a top-four finish. The top of the field is expected to be tough, with Blake (295.5), Detroit Lakes (296) and Holy Family Catholic (297.5) all possessing the talent to go sub-300 on a regular basis.
"Blake has to be a heavy favorite," Berkeland said. "But if we could be in the top half, that would be a successful tournament for us."