The men's golf team at Minnesota State Community & Technical College is traditionally one of the most successful programs in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, and the 2018-19 academic year was no exception.
The Spartans, under veteran coach Jason Retzlaff, recently wrapped up their run at the 2019 NJCAA Division III Golf Championships, where they claimed third-place hardware as a team, and several individual accolades as well. The third place finish for the Spartans equals the top team finish of any MCAC sport in the 2018-19 academic year on the national NJCAA stage; Rochester Community & Technical College women's volleyball earned a third-place finish this past fall, edging fellow MCAC program Central Lakes College for the third-place volleyball trophy at the 2018 NJCAA Division III Volleyball Championships.
The Spartans were just six strokes off the top squad - Georgia Military - and only five back of runner up Sandhills at NJCAA Division III National Championship hosted by Chautauqua Golf Club (Par 72) in Chautauqua, NY. The Spartans rose to the challenge on the final round of the four-day event, carding a team lowest-round score of 304.
For complete results of the 2019 NJCAA Division III Golf Championships, please click here or go to: http://www.njcaa.org/sports/mgolf/2018-19/div3/national_championship/recap
Individually, M State saw three Spartans earn All-America honors; Blake Bloedorn, was 4th place overall and Hunter Moen, was 5th place; both were First Team All-America selections. Wyatt Blomseth - who finished in 14th place overall - was an Honorable Mention All-America for 2019. With the All-American honor as a freshman, Blomseth has earned an automatic bid to the National Tournament in the 2019-20 season.
Moen, a sophomore on the Spartan squad, earned the added distinction of becoming the first M State student-athlete in golf to earn First-Team All-America distinction in consecutive seasons. As a team, M State has finished in the top three of all NJCAA Division III teams in three of the last four years; the Spartan's earned third-place or better finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2019. They also own the longest streak of consecutive championship appearances of any NJCAA Division III men's golf team with eight straight trips to the tournament.
For M State, the overall individual results from the four-day event were:
Blake Bloedorn- 75 (Day 1) +78 (Day 2) +74 (Day 3)+ 76= 303 (3rd Individually, First Team NJCAA All-American)
Hunter Moen- 75+76+79+75= 305 (5th Individually, First Team NJCAA All-American)
Wyatt Blomseth- 85+77+77+76= 315 (Tie for14, All-American Honorable Mention)
Carter Justesen- 82+80+79+77= 318 (T-20)
Austin Miller- 90+84+86+88= 348 (T-67)
According to M State head coach Jason Retzlaff: "The Spartans really came to play today and it was a battle between three great teams. We might have caught both teams around the 12th hole but couldn't quite keep the wave of momentum going through the entire round. Regardless, 6 shots off the title is a tremendous accomplishment and the guys played exceptional under pressure." The Region XIII Coach-of-the-Year went on to note: "Our fan support was such a big part of our experience this week. Including M State President Dr. Carrie Brimhall and her family, we had 41 people from Minnesota and North Dakota travel to New York to cheer us on. That type of support from family and our college is truly appreciated."
Retzlaff concluded his comments with a tip of the hat to his Spartan student-athletes: "A big thanks to our sophomores Blake Bloedorn, Jordan Kern, Austin Miller, and Hunter Moen. They are great players and very special young men. I am very thankful they attended M State and they leave a wonderful legacy on our program. Both Wyatt and Carter had great freshman seasons and they will be the backbone of our team next year."
With the conclusion of the 2019 NJCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships, the 2018-19 NJCAA competitions involving programs from the Minnesota College Athletic Conference have concluded for the year. Keep an eye out for the2018-19 MCAC Elite awards, as well as final NJCAA academic and other NJCAA spring sport All-America announcements.
Photo and statistics courtesy of M State-Fergus Falls Athletics.
About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.