For the eighth consecutive year, the Spartans of M State Community and Technical College will be competing in the NJCAA Division III national golf tournament, scheduled for June 4-7 in Chautauqua, New York.
Playing for the perennial national contender will be returning All-American Hunter Moen, a sophomore from West Fargo. Also returning to the national championship tournament are M State sophomores Blake Bloedorn of Alexandria and Jordan Kern of Wadena.
Making first-time appearances at the tournament are Carter Justesen, a freshman from Hawley who was the overall medalist at the NJCAA Division III Region 13 and Minnesota College Athletic Conference tournament in the fall, freshman Wyatt Blomseth of Detroit Lakes and sophomore Austin Miller of Big Lake.
The Spartans have finished in the top five in the nation for seven years in a row, winning the national championship in 2012 and finishing fourth in 2013, fifth in 2014, fourth in 2015, third in both 2016 and 2017 and fourth in 2018.
Spartan golf coach Jason Retzlaff said this year’s team average is 312.5, the second-best team scoring average in modern Spartan golf history.
“We are thrilled to make this trip again in what is such a special and memorable experience,” Retzlaff said. “I believe this is one of the most talented teams we will bring out to Chautauqua and a group that has already performed very well under pressure at the region tournament. Most importantly, it will be great to have a week on and off the golf course with a team of outstanding young men.”
The Spartans qualified for this year’s national tournament by winning the Region XIII and MCAC championships in October.
“To qualify, just like the year before, we battled with Southwest Tech (Fennimore, Wisconsin),” Retzlaff said. “Over two days at the region tournament, we won by two strokes. In 2017, we defeated them by three strokes.”
Retzlaff was named Northern Division Coach of the Year by Gopher Sports in November, and two months earlier the Spartan golf team was the second recipient of the MCAC Team-of-the-Week honor sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps for the 2018-19 academic year.
The Spartan assistant coach is Jeff Haukos.
Both Moen and Bloedorn are planning to transfer to St. Cloud State University in the fall and compete in golf for the Huskies.