The Wayzata boys’ golf program thrives on competition. It can come from within as well as nearby communities.
“We are all really competitive,” Trojans senior Will Holmgren said. “It’s a friendly competitiveness amongst us.”
How about against the likes of Lake Conference foes Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka?
“That’s a whole different ballgame,” Holmgren said.
Those rivalries have intensified over the past few seasons as the Trojans solidified themselves as one of the state’s top teams.
After winning three consecutive Class 3A state championships from 2009-2011 (the last time sharing the title with Rogers), Wayzata was edged by Minnetonka for the Section 6 title in 2012. The Trojans returned to state in 2013, finishing runner-up by a stroke to Eden Prairie. Last year they took second again by a shot, this time edged by Edina.
“The state tournament is so much more intense,” Holmgren said. The North Dakota State recruit was a member of the 2013 state tournament squad but not last year’s contingent.
“It’s so competitive. It’s like going for the gold.”
This year, with Edina ranked No. 1 and Wayzata No. 2, appears to be no different.
“Every year for us is filled with anticipation,” Wayzata coach Allan Christopherson said.
Christopherson has four players back from the six-member state tournament team of a year ago. They are seniors Alex Beversdorf and Grant Rahja and sophomores Ben Frazzini and Van Holmgren, Will’s younger brother.
“Each year we’ve had a little more experience coming back,” Christopherson said. “We were really young two years ago. Last year we only had a couple of newcomers.”
Christopherson also has two sets of brothers among his top players. In addition to the Holmgrens, he has the Frazzinis. Ben’s older brother, Bobby, is also a senior. He is a Northern Iowa recruit.
“All four of them feed off each other,” Christopherson said. “They compete against each other to make themselves better. They also want to make the other players on the team better, too. They are very unselfish.”
Bobby Frazzini is the only member of the two families not to play in the state tournament. That doesn’t keep him from having the same expectations.
“We have a deep team that is really determined,” Bobby Frazzini said. “We don’t want to finish second again.”
A look back
The back-to-back one-stroke losses haven’t been totally disheartening.
Wayzata tied the previous Class 3A state tournament mark for a team with a two-day total of 591 last season. It just happened to come at a time when Edina broke the record (590).
“After the first day, we knew it was going to be a two-team race, and it was,” Christopherson said. “I even told a couple of parents on the second day ‘We’re going to win this.’ We tied the previous state meet record, and it wasn’t enough. We played some very good golf, all the way to the very end.”
The last of which was a birdie putt from the fringe around the 18th green by now-graduated Jack Holmgren. Edina’s final player had to make par for the win, which he did.
“He followed it all the way in,” Beversdorf said. “Everybody erupted around the green. It sounded like somebody scoring a touchdown at a Friday night football game.”
The previous year marked the Trojans’ first trip back to state since their run of three championships.
“Eden Prairie started finding its groove at the end of the season,” Christopherson said. “We left a few strokes out on the course and didn’t play as well as we hoped. We were still proud of what we accomplished with a very young team.”
What lies ahead
For the Trojans to regain the top spot at the state tournament in June at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, it will mean unseating their conference rival and defending state champion.
“Edina has a chance to have something really special this year,” Christopherson said.
Edina welcomes back five of its six players from its record-setting state championship team of a year ago. All five are seniors.
“It’s a great rivalry with a lot of mutual respect for each other,” Christopherson said. “We bring out the best in each other — ability to score, preparation as well as the way they carry themselves on the course. It’s a great rivalry.”
The two teams see each other six times during the regular season, either in conference play or tournaments. Edina has already won the Tri-State Invitational and East Ridge Invitational. Wayzata finished fourth in the Tri-State and was the runner-up (two strokes back) at East Ridge.
The Hornets also beat Wayzata by 12 strokes in a dual meet at Interlachen Country Club.
“We don’t go back and look at the round and say, ‘What if?’ ” Christopherson said.
“We accept what we shot, and move on. We’re not going to rehash our scores. Our benchmark is to keep getting better. That’s what we take pride in.”