By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- After a long six-month hiatus, the Dakota Athletic Conference golf season will begin the spring portion of the schedule this weekend in Rapid City at Meadowbrook Golf Course.
The South Dakota School of Mines will be hosting the Hardrocker Invitational, which is set to start Sunday at 12 p.m. with 18 holes followed by a full round Monday starting at 8 a.m.
In the men’s division, along with the Hardrockers, Jamestown College, Minot State and Dickinson State will also be in attendance for conference play along with non-conference foes Miles City Community College (Mont.). The SDM women will be competing against Black Hills State, Minot State and Dickinson State for the DAC and will also have Mile City as a non-league opponent.
It looks as if the weather will be cooperating as well with temps predicted in the 60s and a possibility of light rain Monday.
“As long as there is no snow we will be fine,” said Hardrocker golf head coach Eric Glenn.
The Hardrockers along with the rest of the conference have not played in a tournament since the end of September so getting back into competition is something the teams have been waiting on for quite a while.
SDMST head golf coach
Especially for the SDM men, who are sitting third in the DAC team standings with 1.5 points. With the Hardrockers playing on their home course this weekend and then traveling to Spearfish the following week to close out the season, the Miner men have a good chance at the DAC title. The Blue Hawks lead the conference race with 4 points while Dickinson is right behind with 3. Jamestown is tied for third with SDM. If the pattern holds true that the host school wins its own meet, that would give the Hardrockers a healthy boost up the rankings after Monday’s tournament
“We could tie (Minot) for second going into the Spearfish tournament,” Glenn said.
That is also how things went down a year ago as well.
“We won our tournament (last year) and we were half a point out of second (place). But the Black Hills State tournament was cancelled because of a snow storm,” Glenn said. “We ended up not rescheduling and we didn’t get a chance (to go for the DAC title).”
Hopefully the weather will hold out this year giving the Hardrocker men a chance to grab the conference crown and advance to the Region III meet.
Individually the Hardrockers have two players in the Top 10 and a couple others flirting just on the outskirts.
SDM sophomore Brad Schaack (Vermillion) is currently sitting in seventh in the DAC standings with 39 points while teammate Hank Tanner (senior from Casper, Wyo.) is a spot back in eighth with 38 points.
“They both had a really good fall,” Glenn said. “They are both looking strong in the Top 10 right now.” Jordan Kelly of Minot State is leading the DAC race with 56 total points with teammate Luke Dailey is just one point back in second with 55. Dickinson State’s Craig Gaube is a distant third with 44.5 points.
“Minot is awfully good and they have two of the top golfers, hands down, in the conference,” Glenn added.
South Dakota Mines Quentin Patterson (junior from Sioux Falls) has a very good shot of breaking into the Top 10 after this weekend’s meet, holding down the No. 11 spot with 31.5 points, just 1 point out of 10th and teammate Brandon Eisenbaum (freshman from Yankton) has a shot of moving up the list as well, holding 14th with 18.5 points (16 points out of the Top 10).
“Both have a shot to break into the Top 10,” Glenn said. “Brandon has a little bit tougher road to hoe because he is back a ways, but Quinton is only two and half points out of 10th --- and he has his home course coming up so that’s pretty big for him.”
In the women’s race, Dickinson State is atop the DAC standings with 4 points, while BHSU is second (3) and Jamestown third (2).
The Lady Hardrockers failed to score any team points during the fall schedule because they didn’t field a full team. But that will change come Sunday as SDM now has six golfers on the roster.
The Lady Hardrockers’ No. 1 golfer, Lisa Steever (senior from Custer), is currently in fourth place in the conference ranks with 15 points headed into the weekend. Coming from the Black Hills, she certainly is favorable to move up in the standings with two Black Hills courses to play yet this year.
“Lisa Steever had a great fall. She’s in fourth right now but that could change,” Glenn added.
Black Hills State���s and reigning DAC champion Jaime Bentley holds down first place again this year with 21 points while Megan Fisher of Dickinson State is a close second with 20 points and Leah Grinsteiner, also of Dickinson, is third with 19 points. And with Steever right there as well, the women’s race is going to come right down to the wire.
As for the rest of the Lady Hardrockers, only three played during the fall --- Steph Leber (freshman from Dell Rapids), Jody Kaup (freshman from Blackhawk) and Emillia Juhl (freshman from Lavern, Minn.).
“This is the first year they have ever played (competitive) golf and they have already improved quite a bit,” Glenn said.
Glenn’s new additions will give the Lady ‘Rockers a well rounded team and lay the foundation for the future.
“We have a full team again,” Glenn said. “The two I added are pretty good. Jade Herman from Todd County is going to be a decent player for us and Kada Stevens (sophomore) from Bensen, Minn., also has some talent.
Looking at the big picture for both the men’s and women’s divisions, the top two teams in the conference will advance to the Region III meet (tentatively scheduled to be held at Oxbow Golf and Country Club in Fargo, N.D. April 30-May 1) along with the Top 10 individuals.
But first the DAC golfers have to run the gauntlet of the toughest tournaments in the conference, starting with Meadowbrook Golf Course Sunday.
“This is a tough course. It’s probably the second toughest course that we play in our conference,” Glenn said. “Spearfish’s is the toughest (Spearfish Canyon Country Club).” Another factor working in Mines’ favor is the amount of time they have spent on the course during the break. With mild weather this winter in Rapid City as opposed to other locales in the conference, the Hardrockers have been able to log a lot more hours.
“Our guys and girls have been able to play a little bit more golf than everybody else,” Glenn said. “It’s been cold but at least we’ve be able to get on the course. It’s snowing in North Dakota.”
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