1. Blake boys’ squad can accomplish feat
Coach Marshall Hoiness’ group is the two-time defending boys’ team champion in Class 2A, winning the title by 15 strokes last year after sharing the crown with Mankato East in 2015. The Bears could accomplish a first in state history this year. They have had back-to-back medalists in senior Reece Sanders and junior Derek Hitchner. Can they make it three consecutive different individual champions all from the same team? They have two other players back who wound up in the top 12 a year ago.
2. Can Red Wing halt Lake streak?
Lake Conference powers Edina (2013 and 2016) and Wayzata (2014 and 2015) have won the past four Class 3A girls’ team state crowns, and the defending champion Hornets appear to be the favorite to extend the streak. If the Lake run is stopped, look for Red Wing to accomplish the feat. The Wingers, who opted up from Class 2A two years ago, are coming off a third-place finish last year. Coach Mark Herzog has his top three golfers back (senior Stephanie Herzog and sophomore Leah Herzog and sophomore Sophia Yoemans) from a year ago, all of whom finished in the top 23.
3. Stellar career coming to an end
Heritage Christian senior Kiera Smith’s outstanding career is drawing to a close. She has won back-to-back Class 1A girls’ individual titles after finishing third in her freshman and eighth-grade seasons and 14th as a seventh-grader. Ten of the top 11 finishers are back from last year, so a three-peat won’t come easily.