Area golf preview: Burke plans to stay on top
After four years of finishing second, Burke finally ascended to the top of the Class B girls golf world last June.
The Cougars captured the state championship last season, besting Deubrook Area by 19 strokes. They also boasted the individual state champion, Tressa Bull, who nipped teammate Taylee Indahl by one stroke.
Bull has since graduated, but Indahl returns, as do Emily Stukel and eighth-grader Adisyn Indahl—who placed 16th and 18th at state, respectively—to give Burke reason to believe it can once again contend for a state championship this spring at Mitchell's Lakeview Golf Course.
"We have a really good core coming back," Burke head coach Billie Jo Indahl said. "I feel like it's going to be a good run again for us. They have that goal again this year to repeat."
With a runner-up finish last season, Indahl enters her junior year as one of the favorites once again. She will have some competition with 2017 state champion Courtni Frank, of Deubrook Area, along with Bon Homme's Makayla Kelly, who placed fourth last season. Fifth-place finisher Josie Rush (Philip) is also back, leading to the potential of an action-packed race to the top of the podium.
"(Taylee) wants to be a state champion," Indahl said. "It'll be a lot of fun to see where she goes and how she does throughout the season. I foresee her to be a favorite and has a great chance of winning it this year."
Just three strokes behind Deubrook Area at the state tournament was Howard, and the Tigers could be competitive once again, but they are also facing a bit of a rebuild after losing three golfers that placed in the top 11 last season.
Kenedy Koepsell returns after finishing 23rd last season, but she is still recovering from a knee injury during the basketball season and her status is up in the air. Sophomore Katelyn Feldhaus and freshman Mia Glanzer could be in line for breakout seasons after sitting behind the now-departed seniors last season.
"It's going to be a younger team, but there's some talent there," Howard head coach Alan Wiese said. "... They got caught behind some really talented upperclassmen. You have to wait your turn and get a little better, get a little older and get a little more experience. Their time is now, so hopefully they'll come through."
Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reagan Klooz returns after placing 23rd at the state tournament last season, while Platte-Geddes' Mariah Van Zee looks to build upon a 26th-place finish. Bridgewater-Emery senior Darby Hurd is also coming off a 35th-place season at state, where the Huskies took 12th as a team.
In Class A, Parkston finished four strokes behind Sioux Falls Christian for third at the state tournament, but top player Jayden Bormann graduated. Ellie Weidenbach returns, however, after finishing 16th, while teammate Tylee Neugebauer tied for 22nd.
Winner is led by junior Addy Root, who took 44th in her second-straight appearance at the state tournament.
Platte-Geddes came up short of winning the Class B boys golf championship last season, tying Parker for second place, 16 strokes behind state champion Great Plains Lutheran.
While the Black Panthers must reshuffle their lineup a bit heading into 2019, they do return Brody Boltjes and Stewart Van Zee, who placed seventh and 17th, respectively, at the state tournament last season.
If Platte-Geddes can find two more players to complement them, the Black Panthers could once again be in the mix for a state title at Wild Oak Golf Course in Mitchell.
"Hopefully you're playing your best golf at the end of the season, but you have to get there first," Platte-Geddes head coach Frank Cutler said. "We won't look too far ahead, but we hope to be able to compete with the top teams around the state."
While Platte-Geddes finished as runner-up in the team standings, Gregory's J.J. Beck was the individual runner-up in Class B, falling to Aberdeen Christian's Judah Aderhold by two strokes. Beck returns for his senior campaign, while Aderhold has since graduated.
Meanwhile, Howard and Freeman look to battle it out for supremacy in the Cornbelt Conference. The Tigers return Noah Hodges after an 11th-place finish at state, while Bailey Sage tied Bon Homme's Carter Libis—now a junior—for 28th a season ago for the Flyers.
Tryg Aanenson also looks to build upon finishing 30th for a Freeman team that ended 11th in the team standings.