SEU Golfers leave mark at Class A State Golf Tournament—boys finish in third place

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Liz Schwint, individually, and the Sleepy Eye United boys, as a team, competed in the State Class A Golf Tournament on June 15 and 16 at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.

It was Schwint’s first appearance at the annual “best of the bests” tournament, and she looked to enjoy the experience while having the goal of shooting two good rounds of golf. On day one of the tournament, Liz shot a score of 112 on her way to familiarizing herself with the ins and outs of the golf course at Pebble Creek. On Wednesday, Liz rounded out her first state tournament appearance in style, as she tied her season low 18-hole total of 104 for a 62nd place finish in the state.

SEU golfer Liz Schwint (center) with coaches George Schwint and Bryant Mages.

"I was really proud of how Liz ended the state tournament this year by tying her low 18-hole score on the year," said Coach Bryant Mages. "Toward the end of the year, Liz really proved that it didn’t really matter what golf course she was playing – she will bring a good mental game with her wherever she goes, and it definitely paid off for her down the stretch."

The Sleepy Eye United boys’ golf team came into the 2021 State Class A Golf tournament optimistically, after shooting the third lowest section tournament score (633) in the state – behind North Woods (625) and Fertile-Beltrami (628).

The Sleepy Eye United boys golf team took third place at the MSHSL Class A State Tournament, from left: Coach Bryant Mages, Jacob Schultz, Carson Erickson, Jack Nelson, Allen Arneson, Toby Weiss, Logan Netzke, and Assistant Coach George Schwint.

"Day one of the state tournament definitely did not start off on the right note for us," said Mages. "I watched as a number of the kids took some pretty big numbers on the opening couple of holes. However, that kind of made the first day more rewarding in the end. They ended up battling back to shoot a really solid team score of 321 and cut what was an early 10-plus stroke deficit to a tie for first with Fertile-Beltrami by the end of the day. It's just the type of thing I reiterated to the guys all year long – forget about the bad shots and bad holes and move onto the next. Seeing that level of perseverance they had on the first day is just what a coach loves to see."

Day 1 Scores included: 321 team score, Carson Erickson – 7, Toby Weiss – 7, Logan Netzke – 82, Jack Nelson – 86

The guys struggled a bit on the second day of the state tournament.

On the second day, the Sleepy Eye United boys got off to a more promising start, and actually gained a brief two stroke lead over Fertile-Beltrami after just a few holes of play. However, in the end Fertile-Beltrami’s consistency in their top four golfers was what led to that school’s first ever state championship.

"We definitely didn’t play as well as we could have on the second day of the state tournament, but I was really proud of how we battled," said Mages. "There aren’t many kids that can say that they contended for a state title, and from beginning to end, the class A title was basically a three-team race. Being one of the three teams in contention is something that this team can be really proud of."

Day 2 Scores: 335 team score, Logan Netzke - 80, Toby Weiss – 81, Carson Erickson – 85, Jacob Schultz – 89

Final Team Results

1st – Fertile Beltrami 629

2nd – Legacy Christian Academy 642

3rd – Sleepy Eye United 656

4th – North Woods 675

5th – West Central Area 691

6th – Benson 707

7th – Lanesboro 714

8th – Adrian 731

Coach Mages offered these comments about the golf season:

"If there’s one overarching feeling I have about my first season as head coach for the golf team, its definitely that I’m just super proud of these kids. They worked hard, they improved, they got knocked down, they got back up again, and they came back stronger and lived up to their potential. Its honestly just really inspiring to me.

"The state tournament was a really exhausting couple days for me, I’m not gonna lie. I wanted the kids to have the best experience they could have in the final days of the season, and it really got me thinking about why I started coaching in the first place. When I took the head coach position for the golf team, I wanted to be able to give these kids the same awesome experience I had when I was in golf in high school.

"The primary reason for why I think I enjoyed golf so much in high school was because of my high school golf coach, Tom ‘Doc’ Larson. Its crazy to think about how one person can have such an impact in a person’s life, but Doc really influenced me in many ways – both on and off the golf course. He really took the time to get to know every one of his players individually, to celebrate their victories no matter the size, and to keep things positive when things didn’t go well. Overall, he was an incredibly invested and dedicated coach – much much more than any coach I ever had. He truly cared, and that’s why he has had the impact he has had on so many golfers over the years.

"It never really hit me how much of an impact I might have been making on these kids this year until I saw the four seniors out on their last hole at the state tournament. The exchanges we had I will never forget, even long after I coach. It was really rewarding because I realized I had made an impact on these kids, and it also made me a bit emotional because I realized they impacted me as a coach and as a person as well."