With championship season approaching, the Chanhassen boys golf team hopes to build on the success it found at the end of last season.
Several underclassmen return from a Storm team that won the Metro West Conference and section 2AAA tournament championships. Chanhassen has had another good spring — winning two conference tournaments — and has its eye again on the conference and section titles — and maybe even a top five finish at the Class 3A state tournament.
“We’ve talked about taking it one day at a time because [the players] obviously know that we have high expectations this year. We’re a talented team top to bottom,” head coach Tony Happ said. “So really, it’s just kind of being patient and taking things one tournament at a time.”
Chanhassen has finished first or second in all four Metro West Conference tournaments, winning at Minneapolis Golf Club May 1 and Island View Golf Club May 8 and finishing behind only Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Bluff Creek Golf Course April 18 and at Dahlgreen Golf Club May 10.
Four golfers return from last season’s state tournament team, including sophomores Andrew Ballou, Lucas Arntsen and Cameron Stenzel and senior Bryce Dunkelberger. Junior Tristan Tidemann was expected to step up for the varsity roster this year, and senior Bennett Williams has recently rounded out the six-man lineup.
Ballou finished highest on the leaderboard for the Storm at the 2022 state tournament, finishing 24th overall with a 151 during the 36-hole match. This season, Arntsen is averaging a score of 73.5 in conference play, with Ballou close behind at 74.5.
Happ said the competitiveness through each player helps breed strong golf on the course, as they all want to be the top player for the team and at each tournament. But Happ said he likes to have the team shift its mindset to improving as individual players for the benefit of the team.
“We talk about worrying about your own game, play every shot one at a time, don’t worry about your teammates,” Happ said. “Don’t worry about your competitors. Just focus on your game and then those results will speak for themselves at the end of the round. And that’s all you can control.”
Come section tournament time, Chanhassen will be challenged by teams like Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Prior Lake and Chaska for the section 2AAA crown. The Eagles were only six strokes behind the Storm in last season’s section tournament.
The Metro West Conference championship tournament takes place May 22 at Braemar Golf Course in Edina, followed by the section 2AAA tournament on May 30 and 31 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The Class 3A state tournament is June 13 and 14 at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.
“We have realistic goals that we believe we can achieve this year but we know that you still have to play a round and go and compete and earn it,” Happ said.