Look to youth: Jimmies young, but talented
There’s a true youth movement going on in the Jimmie golf program, but coach Dustin Jensen thinks it’s going to pay off.
Many NAIA golf programs struggle to get 13 kids into their entire program. Jensen doesn’t have that problem and the kids he’s brought in aren’t just out for a fall activity.
“If we’re going to advance out of the region we have to put different people in the seats on the bus,” Jensen said. “We have golf junkies. We have tournament-seasoned players. A lot of them are young, but they’ve played a lot of golf.
“I’m really excited because we have a lot of kids that are golfers, not just kids that play golf.”
Both teams have key upperclassmen, but the lineup will be primarily made of players making their collegiate debut today. The meet begins at 1 p.m. at the Jamestown Country Club.
Junior Michael Strain is poised for a big season, according to the head coach.
“He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the region,” Jensen said. “He’s a smart player, phenomenal leader. He’ll be the anchor of our team.”
The Hagenson twins — Mitch and Trent — have taken a big step forward in their play and will be in the 2-3 spots. But from there it’s all freshmen.
Nolan Frank starts in the 4-hole, with Jamestown High School grad Brandon Stahlhut rounding out the first five.
Nathan Kapaun, Riley Sisson, Nick Blaskowski, Benji Miller and Hunter Anderson constitute the second five. Blaskowski, who played high school golf for the Blue Jays, also is playing basketball.
Jakobi Lux, another JHS product, won’t play today, but is in the mix for a top-five spot.
“We’re going to have really good competition for those last couple of spots and that’s critical to the success of any team,” Jensen said.
The women’s lineup is topped by two decorated recruits in Bismarck’s Annie Nelson and Rachel Jahner of Dickinson.
“They’ve been fabulous,” Jensen said of the former Class A stars. “They’re the first to practice and last to leave.”
Sophomore Emily Larson had a quality freshman campaign and is the only non-freshmen in the first five. Reagan Ritchey and Emma Thompson are in the No. 4 and 5 spots.
Freshman Savanna Nesemeier of Kindred, junior Kiley Fuller from Ellendale, freshman Kaylie Bjornstad of Cando and sophomore Mackenzie Schwartz of Northwood also will play today.
Jensen is setting the bar high for the women’s squad.
“The upside potential to this team is scary,” he said. “If they don’t break the school (scoring) record in the first couple weeks I’d be surprised.”
The Jimmies have meets each weekend in September and the first weekend in October to cap the first half of the NAIA golf season. A second home meet is set for Sept. 21-22 at the country club.
Sun sports editor Dave
Selvig can be reached
at (701) 952-8460 or firstname.lastname@example.org