Building a Parkston powerhouse
PARKSTON -- For nearly a decade, the Class A girls golf state championship has revolved around Parkston. Since 2009, the Trojans have either won the state title or finished as the runner-up. Fast forward to 2016, and Parkston is looking to win it...
PARKSTON - For nearly a decade, the Class A girls golf state championship has revolved around Parkston.
Since 2009, the Trojans have either won the state title or finished as the runner-up. Fast forward to 2016, and Parkston is looking to win its fifth-straight Class A title when the team tees off Monday at Southern Hills Golf Course in Hot Springs.
"In eight years, it's been first or second," Parkston head coach Tyler Hockett said. "I know how special it is. It is rare."
Last year, Parkston won the Class A title by 47 strokes with a two-day team score of 731 and had a low team score of 356 on the final day of the tournament. This year, Parkston has carded a low score of 323 in the pre-region tournament on May 24 and had a 339 to win the Region 3A title on Tuesday.
"Right now, they're really starting to get along well as a group and they always have got along well, but they're bonding even tighter," Hockett said. "They need to play with a clear mind and leave any doubts or non-positive thoughts in the bag."
The five-member team consists of seniors Sydney Bormann and Sydney Weber, sophomores Jayden Bormann and Jadee Mattheis, as well as freshman Tylee Neugebauer.
"The team is really excited heading into state," said Sydney Bormann, a three-time Class A state champion. "We've been working extremely hard and how ever we play, we're never quite satisfied. We want to do as best as we can."
Bormann, who will play for South Dakota State University next year, said Southern Hills is a course that relies on precision.
"Hot Springs can be a placement course," said Bormann, who won her first state title in Hot Springs as an eighth-grader in 2012. "It's pretty narrow, so short irons, wedges and short game will always be a factor no matter the course. That'll be our team's focus."
Heavy favorites to win another Class A title this year, the Parkston Trojans will soon join the history books alongside the mid-2000s Clark/Willow Lake teams in Class B and Lead-Deadwood teams in Class A, as well as, multiple state champion teams Brookings and Sioux Falls O'Gorman teams in Class AA.
With a team victory, the Trojans would tie Lead-Deadwood in Class A with five straight state titles since the three-class system was created in 2002. In the other classes, Clark won five titles from 2004 to 2008 and then two more as Clark/Willow Lake in 2009 and 2010 in Class B and Brookings won five straight Class AA titles from 2005 to 2009. Girls team champions have been crowned since 1977 in South Dakota.
"It's not only about this current group. It's about the group before them and the group before them," Hockett said. "They've just passed in on to the next generation and each year it seems like we're doing it with different girls that were given a lot by the girls before them."
In 2009, Parkston ended Lead-Deadwood's string of five straight Class A titles and won the school's first girls golf state championship.
Led by Logan Wagner and Jordan Bormann, each eighth-graders at the time, Parkston won its first state title by one stroke with a two-day score of 714, edging Milbank's 715. Other members of the first state title team, coached then by current Parkston principal Eric Norden, were Samantha Mogck, Mariah Mogck and Sami Kollman.
In his fourth year coaching the Parkston girls, Hockett said the Trojans' ability to pass along knowledge and experience to younger players has made all the difference in the team's successful string of teams.
"That's the best thing to watch as a coach, to watch other girls help each other and give their talents back to the next generation," Hockett said. "To me, that's what it's all about."
'The two Sydneys'
Two key golfers have been in the middle of Parkston's run of four-straight state titles, called by Hockett as "the two Sydneys" in Bormann and Weber.
Each has been on the varsity team since eighth grade and the dynamic duo has finished in first and second place in each of the past two Class A state tournaments.
"They're the best of the best," Hockett said about Bormann and Weber. "They're the most genuine, hard-working Sydneys out there. We got the two best Sydneys that's for sure."
In a friendly rivalry, both golfers have pushed each other to excel in the sport. Bormann has won the individual title in seven meets this year, while Weber bested Bormann in two meets - winning the Vermillion Invite and finishing second to Sioux Falls Roosevelt's McKayla Poppens at the Yankton Invite.
"We work hard and we're proud to be from Parkston," said Weber, who will play at Augustana next year. "We work when we need to to get the results we want. We all push each other to play and practice when we can."
Parkston athletic director Leslie Rylance said Bormann and Weber have left a bigger impact at Parkston High School than their outstanding golf accomplishments.
"Those two are two of the best," Rylance said. "Not just as athletes but as students, too. They make a great team. They set a great example for students to look up to. Not just on the golf course, but in the hallway and in the classroom."
Rylance said Parkston's four straight state titles and possibly a fifth state title can be attributed to both Bormann and Weber's dedication to the sport.
"They're brought a great tradition to the Parkston girls golf program," Rylance said. "They'll be greatly missed, but they've inspired many more to carry on that great tradition."
For Hockett, a future of Parkston girls golf without Bormann and Weber is something slowly setting in for the coach. Hockett said he started to think about how the state meet will be the last meet coaching the two standouts.
"I don't know what I'll say when's it all done, but you just hate to lose two girls like that," Hockett said. "They've left a legacy for many years to come."
In nine meets this year, Parkston has won eight of them with the only blemish coming at the Yankton Invite on May 6. The Trojans took fourth at the meet with a team score of 356 and were behind Class AA schools Sioux Falls O'Gorman, Yankton and Rapid City Stevens.
In other meets, like the Mitchell Invite, Parkston has been able to best Class AA competition. Former Kernel girls golf head coach Mark Horan said the Trojans' work ethic has always stood out.
"They put in hours and hours and hours of practice," Horan said. "They work a lot on the game on their own time. They have girls that are willing to put in the time. As far as heads and tails above the rest in the field, I haven't seen many teams like Parkston."
Heading into the state tournament at Hot Springs, the Parkston team will head west today. Hockett said the plan is to play the course together today along with another team round on Sunday.
"The Hot Springs course is pretty visually intimidating but it's actually pretty short," Hockett said. "You have to be accurate off the box and you have to putt the ball well."
Both Bormann and Weber have experience playing the course in Hot Springs and Hockett said that'll be a big advantage for his team in the two-day tournament.
"We've seen the course, played it a couple of times and definitely have an advantage," Weber said. "We have a game plan and we just need to follow through with it. We're ready."
Weber said every member of the team knows their role and has helped the team reach success this season. For both Weber and Hockett, the chase for a fifth state championship is just another accolade to prove how hard the team works.
"These kids work so hard," said Hockett, adding the team drives 25 miles one-way to practice at Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell. "It shows unprecedented dedication."