A return to the links

M State golfer Wyatt Blomseth is one of two sophomores who gets an extra year with the team due to COVID-19.

While many college sports have been canceled or moved from the fall slate, the defending Region XIII/MCAC champion M State men’s golf team will be back on the links and looking to once again repeat.

“While there is nothing normal about the circumstances of this season, we are very thankful to begin practice and have the opportunity to compete this fall,” Spartans head coach Jason Retzlaff said. “The last six months put in perspective what a privilege it is to play competitive sports and we are grateful to have golf this fall.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a shutdown of college sports, the National Junior College Athletic Association did not charge a year of eligibility to golfers competing in the fall of 2019. This gives the Spartans a unique opportunity as they will not only have new golfers and returning freshmen, but will also have two returning sophomores in Wyatt Blomseth and Carter Justesen. Blomseth has been an All-American, while Justesen has been a medalist in Region XIII. Also returning this season will be Region XIII medalist Grant Inniger and Jon Vall.

Retzlaff will be looking for a few fresh faces to step in for varsity action. The Detroit Lakes duo of Hunter Burnside and Drew Schwann, Underwood’s Canaan Kugler and Hillcrest’s Mike Vall will look for the opportunity to help the Spartans continue their winning ways. The Spartans will also see Sara Butler of Coon Rapids compete for the women’s team.

Also different this year will be the team’s schedule. Due to the pandemic, the Spartans will play four fall competitions and have two scrimmages. The Region XIII championship has been moved to the spring.

“The last six months put in perspective what a privilege it is to play competitive sports and we are grateful to have golf this fall. We have an exciting combination of returners and newcomers, that has the potential to be a very good team. It will be fun to watch this team progress this fall with our longer-term sights set on the region championship that has been moved to the spring,” Retzlaff added.

Retzlaff will be assisted by Jeff Haukos.

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