SPORTS PREVIEW: Golf boys hope to return to state

Mix of experience and talent will guide team

 

The Forest Lake boys golf team returns some big guns for its 2014 quest to return to the state meet after placing third last year. (Photo by TLC Digital Images)

The Forest Lake boys golf team returns some big guns for its 2014 quest to return to the state meet after placing third last year. (Photo by TLC Digital Images)

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

The Ranger boys golf team returns four of its six varsity athletes from last season’s state-qualifying team, which placed third behind Eden Prairie and Wayzata.

Of those returners, senior Luke Resler turned heads at the end of the year by placing second at the section meet, behind only now-graduated teammate Trevor Thompson, and earning the team’s top score at state. He took 13th in a field of 88, and earned all-conference honorable mention honors.

Daniel Massey and Nick Moe join Resler as senior leaders this year. Both were regular varsity scorers in 2013, with Massey taking eighth at sections and earning all-conference honors.

Sophomore Jack Kluge, an all-conference honorable-mention pick in 2013, also returns from the state-tournament team, and is accompanied by a throng of classmates who could all vie for a spot on varsity.

Sophomores Easton Jacobson, Sam Cartford and Chase Mouch established themselves last season. Mouch split time on varsity and junior varsity, while Jacobson and Cartford were the top contributors on the junior varsity squad, which took first in the Suburban East Conference.

Head coach John Buck said he is pleased with the level of competitiveness among his players.

“Competition for spots is what makes us a good team,” Buck said. “We have 15-16 guys and 12 spots. And they’re all really nice kids, so I’m very thankful for that.”

Forest Lake will have more than enough worthy opponents to face on the course.

Last year the Rangers finished third in the SEC behind Hastings and East Ridge. Buck expects the Raiders to be the biggest competition again this season, as many of the same title-winning golfers are back. However, Forest Lake won’t look past East Ridge or a growing White Bear Lake program. Stillwater also proves a threat with a standout, junior Sam Sicard.

Forest Lake will also face a tough section, with Grand Rapids, Elk River and Andover being the teams to track. Grand Rapids had the lead by three strokes on the first day of the section tournament last year, but the Rangers zoned in for a 12-stroke victory after day two to qualify for state.

Fortunately for Forest Lake’s hopes of returning to state, the Thunderhawks graduated some strong scorers after last season. But that doesn’t mean Buck and the Rangers will let their guard down.

“Honestly we could beat any team on any given day,” Buck said. “We will find out more when we start playing outside and see what scores they’re shooting.”

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