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N.D. BOYS STATE A GOLF: GFC, GFRR golfers look to finish strong at this week’s state meet

Grand Forks Red River opened the boys golf season by winning the two-day East-West Classic in Jamestown, one of two meets the Roughriders have won this high school season.

Grand Forks Central’s Riley Petersen had the low round of any Grand Forks golfer this spring, shooting a 71 to earn medalist honors in a meet at Carrington.

But Red River has also been as low as sixth in a conference meet. And Petersen has shot a round as high as 88.

Inconsistent has been the word for Grand Forks golfers, who wrap up their season in the two-day state tournament in Jamestown, which begins Tuesday. Both the Red River and Central teams qualified for state.

Red River coach Merle Mikkelsen doesn’t fault the golfers for the inconsistency.

“I play golf. I know what it’s like,” Mikkelsen said. “Some days you have it. Some days you don’t. It’s the nature of the game.

“We’ve had a couple of days where several guys weren’t on. We need 2-3 guys to be on if we expect to do well.”

The struggle to find consistency is a battle of youth for the Roughriders, who also were second in three meets this season.

The Riders are led by eighth-grader Adam Van Raden, who has an 80.5 average in conference meets. Behind him, bunched in a group, are junior Jack LaMoine (81.63), junior Mike Solc (82.57), eighth-grader Gavin Loscheider (83.75) and freshman Keaton Wolf (84.63). Junior Zach Roed (82.60) also has been in the lineup the second half of the season. All six have shot at least one sub-80 round.

“That up-and-down scoring we’ve seen, that inconsistency, happens with young players,” Mikkelsen said. “It happens with older kids, too, but probably more so with younger players like we have.”

Likewise, Petersen (80.38) is only a sophomore. He’s had five sub-80 rounds in EDC meets. The Knights’ other low scorers are senior Jason Kuntz (87.25) and sophomore Skylar Belgarde (87.50), while junior Andrew Thompson (88.25) has played well of late.

“Riley could go low in the 70s,” Central coach Josh Cichy said. “You never know what he’ll do, though. If he’s in a groove and putting well, he can do well. But he’s been inconsistent. The big thing for him is getting off to a good start. He builds on that.”

But, for all the Grand Forks golfers, it has been an unpredictable spring.

“I wish I did know what to expect,” Mikkelsen said. “I know we’ll get effort. I’m hoping we can finish in the top five. When we’ve played well, we’ve won some meets.”