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Depth will decide Middle Border Conference boys golf race

New Richmond’s Nic Schlicht gets set to hit a shot during the recent meet at Bristol Ridge Golf Club in Somerset.

There are five teams that have aspirations of winning the Middle Border Conference boys golf title, at least based off the results in the first MBC match of the season last Tuesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Club in Somerset.

What will end up separating those five teams isn’t the golfers at the top of their lineups. It’s the golfers who fill the three through five spots in their rosters.

Somerset was able to win last week’s opening match, based mainly on the top three scores in their lineup, a 39 and two 41s. Somerset won the match by shooting 174. New Richmond was five strokes behind the Spartans. Amery and St. Croix Central were clearly in the running, finishing at 184 and 185. And Baldwin-Woodville could still be a threat after shooting a 190.

Somerset was led by Austin Perry, who tied for medalist honors by shooting a 39. Wil Gauper and Alex Lahde both shot 41. All three are returning all-conference players.

Somerset coach Todd Myers said his players were not satisfied despite the win.

“We know that Amery and New Richmond have aspirations to be at the top and we need to work harder than they do to improve our game management,” Myers said.

New Richmond was led by senior Thomas McKinney with a 40. One of the bright spots for the Tigers was the play of Zach Swiggum. He finished the round at 42.

“Swiggum has really come together,” said New Richmond coach Jim Saliny.

Saliny used the example of the 16th hole, where Swiggum had an extremely difficult lie. He was able to place his chip close to the cup and escape the hole with a par.

Saliny said he thinks Blake Peterson, Nick Schlicht and Alex Nutzmann can improve in the three through five spots in the varsity lineup, which will give the Tigers the opportunity to gain ground on Somerset.

St. Croix Central is another team thinking it is in a position to gain ground on the leaders. The Panthers had two outstanding rounds on Tuesday from seniors Drew Malecek and Jared Tilton. Malecek was co-medalist with a 39 and Tilton finished at 43.

With Bryan Bresina, Mick Pearson and Zach Anderson in the 3-5 spots, there’s also room for the Panthers to push ahead in the standings.

“Zach Anderson is making improvements as a varsity player. I expect big things from him as the season progresses,” said St. Croix Central coach Chris Buckel.

Last week was Central’s spring break, so two players who could have fit in the varsity lineup were unavailable.

The next conference matches will happen next Monday at Amery and next Tuesday at Pheasant Hills. New Richmond will play at a tournament at Lake Wissota Golf Course on Saturday.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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