Spartan golfers enjoy success

Spearfish’s Jack Hight watches his tee shot at a tournament during the 2021 fall boys’ golf season. Pioneer file photo

SPEARFISH — The Spearfish High School boys’ golf team had a successful 2021 fall sports season.

Going into the season, Eric Ligtenberg, the Spartans golf coach said he liked what he saw.

“I had pretty good confidence in our team going into the season regionally, in the Black Hills area,” said Ligtenberg. “We did lose two good seniors last year, in Dane Burghduff and Sam Grout, that had been on the team and had been very influential in the last few years. But I liked the makeup of the team going into August, just because I knew we had a good foundation returning, with a lot of experience.”

Ligtenberg said he thought his team played better than expected during the season.

“I think we overachieved my expectation. We shot team scores that were comparable to my 2018 year. That year was the most successful team that I’ve had since I became the head golf coach in 2007,” said Ligtenberg. “We shot scores this year that kind of shocked me, at some of the local events. Beating teams by 40 or 50 strokes, they were the next team closest to us sometimes. We had some really good tournaments during the school year, regionally in the Black Hills.”

One of the highlights of the season was the Spartans winning their sixth straight Black Hills Conference title.

“That’s always a goal. Once we started winning those Black Hills Conference titles, it became a discussion, and a goal, that no team wants to give that up. Once you have that type of streak going on, there’s some internal pressure, or expectation put on the members of the team that nobody wants to see that streak end, underneath their watch,” Ligtenberg said.

Spearfish recently finished 10th, out of 19 teams, a 36-hole 670, at the Class AA state golf tournament in Huron.

“At the beginning of the state tournament they had us ranked ninth. ... I thought that was good, but I also thought that was a little high, just knowing how we played those other schools,” said Ligtenberg. “Tenth is really good when Spearfish competes against any Sioux Falls team, or any large Class AA school. I think that’s a success. Tenth place is being competitive. There are 19 teams there, so I was pleased. We didn’t have a great tournament, but we didn’t have a bad tournament either. We were just kind of in our averages.”

Josh Sundsted shot a 164 to finish 39th individually. Jack Hight scored a 167 to finish 43rd. Parker Reede shot a 169 for 47th-place. Charlie Rasmussen shot a 174 to finish 58th. Trey Wood shot a 180 to tie for 66th place. Bennett Kortan completed Spearfish’s representation, as he carded a 189 to tie for 80th place.

Spearfish will only lose one senior, Trey Wood from this year’s team.

“Trey Wood didn’t go to state last year, and he played in a handful of tournaments, but he really raised his game for the summer, and contributed a lot to the team,” Ligtenberg said.

Returning all but one player from the fall season, Ligtenberg is excited to see what this team can do in the future.

“I have two juniors that will become seniors, and they just have a ton of experience. I look for them to improve like they did this fall. I have two freshmen that played a ton also. They played all these tournaments and gained lots of experience,” said Ligtenberg. “It’s kind of weird to say you have a freshmen with a lot of experience, but they really do. Look forward to seeing what that kind of corps group of boys will do in the next few years.

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