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Michael Savaloja / Forum Communications Co., Published June 02 2011

Kindred boys golf team wins school's first team state title in any sport

CARRINGTON, N.D. – It’s been a long time in the making, but for the first time in the history of Kindred High School athletics, the Vikings finally brought home a Class B state team championship on Wednesday at CrossRoads Golf Course.

The Vikings were tied atop the leaderboard with Hazen at 337 following the opening day of the North Dakota Class B state boys golf tournament on Tuesday. Winds topping 40 mph plagued the golfers and ballooned scores all afternoon on Day 1.

But on Wednesday the skies cleared, the wind stopped and the athletes enjoyed temperatures in the mid-70s.

Kindred took advantage, shaving 36 strokes off its opening-round score on the par-72 course, finishing the day with a team score of 301 and a two-day total of 638.

Hazen, the winner of back-to-back state titles from 2008-09, was unable to keep pace and ended the tourney with a score of 308 and a two-day total of 645 to finish second.

The Vikings’ 301 was the best score the Region 2 champions had fired all season.

“This is the first-ever state title in any sport at Kindred. We’re pretty happy to finally get one up on the wall,” Kindred coach Perry Piatz said.

“Yesterday we weren’t happy with our scores, but happy with the position we were in. They guys knew with better weather the scores would be better.”

Kindred’s lone senior, Mark Adams, shot a team-best 72 on Wednesday after firing an opening-day 83. He finished in fifth. Adams was tied for 11th after the first 18 holes.

“This is all I wanted all year. You couldn’t find a better team to do it with,” Adams said of his team’s state championship. “We all just played really solid, kept our heads together and it worked out for us.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders.”

Along with Adams, Kindred had five athletes fire under 80 on Day 2. Juniors Tyler Holland (74) and David Talley (76), sophomore Ian Anderson (79) and freshman Tanner Kretchman (79) all shot in the 70s.

Talley finished tied for 12th after posting a two-day total of 161. Kretchman and Holland were right on his heels, finishing tied for 16th (163) and tied for 20th (164), respectively.

Kindred’s sixth golfer, seventh-grader Cody Pulczinski, finished just behind his teammates with an 81 on Wednesday to end up tied for 26th at 166.

Fargo Oak Grove’s Mike Rustvang was tied for third at 80 following the first 18 holes on Tuesday, and the junior backed that up by swinging a 1-under-par 71 on Wednesday en route to capturing this year’s individual championship with a two-day score of 151.

“I was pretty pleased with how I played (on Tuesday), with the wind and everything,” Rustvang said. “I was just trying to keep my shots low to get up and down and it helped out a lot.”

Rustvang birdied the par-5 No. 15 and par-4 No. 16 to get to 1under on Day 2, and closed out his tournament with pars on the par-3 No. 17 and par-4 No. 18. Rustvang fired a 38 on the opening nine holes.

“After 15 and 16 I knew I might have a chance at winning. I just tried to make par on 17 and 18 after that, and I made par on both,” Rustvang said. “I didn’t have a bogey on the back nine. That helped out quite a bit.”

Rustvang became Fargo Oak Grove’s third individual boys golf champion, joining Justin Jenkins (2006) and Kyle Vandevoort (2003). As a team, the Grovers have won four team titles, including three straight from 2005-07.

“It went really well. I was able to make some birdies and get up and down and save some pars,” Rustvang said. “I hit quite a few more greens today than yesterday, and the putter was pretty hot today.”

Savaloja writes for the Jamestown Sun