Northwestern takes deep team to state golf tourneyAfter a second-place finish at Tuesday’s sectional meet in Unity, the Tigers will tee off at noon on Monday in the Division 2 state tournament at University Ridge in Madison.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
Anybody that follows the Northwestern High School boys golf team, knows about the 1-2 punch of seniors Gabe Dinkel and Justin Alexson.
But those that aren’t all that familiar with the team better watch out for next three jabs that are going to be coming from Peter Lindsay, Josiah Vik and Grant Pearson.
“The key to our team success was having depth,” NHS coach Ryan Teal said. “Knowing all five guys are going to shoot mid-low 80s every match. Not many teams have that luxury.”
After a second-place finish at Tuesday’s sectional meet in Unity, the Tigers will tee off at noon on Monday in the Division 2 state tournament at University Ridge in Madison.
At Tuesday’s sectional meet in Amery, the Tigers got off to a slow start posting a 38 and three 41s after the front nine.
“There was a steady 20-30 mph wind all day,” NHS coach Ryan Teal said. “Conditions were less than ideal for a course that demanded accuracy, but the boys finished strong on the more difficult back nine.”
Alexson described the 18-hole experience best by saying the day was a continuous “Grind.”
Alexson and Dinkle were named co-MVPs of this year’s team. Dinkel was also the conference player of the year, was conference meet medalist in a two-hole playoff, was second in the Bloomer Invite, top 10 in the Scott Miller, top five at sectionals.
As for Alexson, he was all-conference, second at the Barron Invite, first at the Bloomer Invite, fourth at the Superior Invite, second at the two-day 24-team Scott Miller Invite, regional medalist and finished with a stroke average of 75 in 18-hole events.
“Gabe dominated conference play and Justin dominated the 18-hole events, so what do you do?” Teal said. “You find more money in the budget, buy another plaque and name them co-MVPs.”
Then there’s Lindsay, who was named the team’s Most Improved; and Vik, the winner of the Coaches Award.
“Peter got better and more consistent as the year went on,” Teal said. “I knew that I could count on him to post a good score that we could use match after match and that is what you are looking for out of your No. 3 guy.
“As for Josiah, he started the year off a bit rocky to say the least. But he vowed in the beginning of the season that he would not be involved in any playoffs and that he would earn a varsity spot and stay there. Instead, he began the season losing an epic playoff battle early in the season for the No. 5 spot.
“Eventually he would improve his scoring average enough to take over the No. 4 spot. Through it all he kept working, he could have got bitter, but instead he got better.”
Lindsay, Vik and Pearson were also named to the Academic All-State by the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin. Students are nominated by GCAW member coaches if they have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5, participated in at least 75 percent of their team’s varsity matches, and are at least a sophomore in high school.
As for team success this season, the Tigers were undefeated in conference play at 14-0; shot a team record low 147 at Spooner; were first in the Bloomer Invite, Superior Invite and the conference meet; second in the Scott Miller Invite (best showing to date by an NHS team); 2012 conference champs; regional champs; and sectional runner-ups.
“A team doesn’t rack up a resume like this one by having one or two good golfers,” Teal said. “They accomplished these things because we had depth and we had five guys that could shoot mid-low 80s or better every match. That is what separated us from the rest.
“Did we have a 1-2 punch with Justin and Gabe, yes, but this team doesn’t accomplish what they did this year without the hard work and dedication of varsity 1-5.”
The Tigers will be making their fourth team appearance at state, having advanced in 2002, 2005 and 2009, when Dinkle and Alexson were freshmen.
Dikle also qualified for state as an individual in 2010.
“I’ll be happy with whatever they shoot as long as they put 100 percent into every stroke they make over the two-day tournament,” Teal said. “The course and competition will be intense. Every coach and team dreams of being a state champion, but in the end the most important thing is to be able to look back at the experience and say I put everything I had into it. No regrets.”