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Manthei, Marshall each finish fifth at state

Photo by Jake McNeill Marshall senior Jayden Manthei takes a swing on the eighth tee box at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Club in Jordan during the second day of the Class AA boys golf championship on Wednesday.

JORDAN — Despite a rain delay lasting over four hours cutting the final day of the Class AA boys golf championship down to a 9-hole event, Jayden Manthei remained cool, calm and collected in his final meet as a Tiger. The Marshall senior shot a 1-over 37 on the day to earn a fifth-place individual medal and help the Tigers to a fifth-place finish as a team.

“It was tougher for everyone, even myself [after the delay], but I was just kind of happy that we got it done,” Manthei, who will be continuing his competitive golf career at Iowa Lakes Community College, said. “I was happy with my finish, it was a great way to finish my high school career.”

Manthei entered the second day of the tournament in a tie for seventh after shooting a 1-over 73, including four front-9 birdies, on the first day of play. He remained consistent throughout his round on Wednesday, logging eight pars and just one bogey on hole 8. 

“Jayden is a golf nut. He’s a studier of the game, he watches YouTube videos, he looks things up and tells us stuff that we don’t even know as coaches,” Marshall head coach Kari Ehlers said. He’s been a quiet leader too. He’s funny, he’s silly but man, when he gets down to business, it’s go-time.”

In addition to Manthei, junior Luke Ehlers also finished just outside of the range for individual hardware. He entered the day tied for fourth place with an even-par 72 on the first day of competition but faltered with a 4-over 40 on Wednesday, ranking 44th in the field on the day. Still, even without the opportunity to turn things around on the back 9, his two-day score was good enough to put him in a tie for 11th with Detroit Lakes’ Lawsen Justesen and Holy Family Catholic’s Tully Supper at 112.

“I’m glad that our team qualified and it was just a really fun time playing one last time with all these seniors,” Ehlers said. “It was just a weird day with the delay and all that, then playing only nine holes… Golf’s just that way sometimes. Some things don’t always go your way, just have to play through it.”

Coach Ehlers noted that Luke had three putts on the day from within five feet that lipped out, but added that those are putts he typically makes and that she was still proud of the way he performed as a whole on the day.

Marshall, the Blake School and Totino-Grace were all in a dogfight for the third-place trophy after Holy Family and Detroit Lakes took the top two spots at 438 and 454. In the end, it was Totino-Grace who nabbed the bronze with a team score of 464, just barely edging out Blake’s 467 and Marshall’s 468. 

“With any type of rain delay, it’s hard to be consistent with your emotions and your concentration… but everybody’s on the same boat,” coach Ehlers said. “I think today was definitely not our best day, which is unfortunate. 

“Yesterday I feel like we had a pretty good showing because Luke was the only guy that has made it to state before, so he’s used to the jitters on the first tee box, seeing all the kids and the hype of the media and all that stuff, but we had five other boys that had never been to the state tournament… If a year ago you asked me what this year would look like for Marshall, I would have had a really hard time telling you that we would be at the state tournament. We had a lot of guys on our team just commit to golf, golf, golf all summer long… they just really stepped it up.”

Pine Island, Cloquet and St. Cloud Cathedral rounded out the team scores at 472, 476 and 490 respectively.

Freshman Deacon Wing really stepped things up for Marshall on the second day of the tournament. 

“I was a little nervous, worried about shooting a high score or not performing well,” Wing said, adding that he felt good about the way he cut his score down from the first day to the second. “My putting wasn’t good on the first day but I tried to practice a lot this morning and I got it done.”

Wing was tied for 53rd after the first day of competition with a score of 83. Yet, his 39 on Wednesday was tied for 30th on the day and brought him up to 46th in the tournament with a two-day score of 122. 

“He’s kind of a quiet guy but he’s definitely a thinker,” Coach Ehlers said of Wing. “He watches the other kids, what they do, how they do things… We always tell kids not to worry about other people’s games, just play your own and Deacon’s very good at that. He finished with such a great round today and he’s definitely going to be back at the state tournament.”

Aside from Manthei, the Tigers will also be saying goodbye to three more seniors in Nate Panka, Brayden Louwagie and Drew Parsons. Panka was the Tigers’ No. 4 on the tournament, shooting a two-day score of 128 to place 75th after carding a 46 on Wednesday.

Louwagie and Parsons were both converts from the baseball team, with Louwagie falling out of the varsity lineup after sustaining a leg injury before using that as motivation to step it up when it counted. 

“Brayden, Nate, Drew and Jayden are best friends, so I’m sure anybody can guess what those four were doing every day that they were not working or playing in a tournament last summer. Try new shots. Try stupid shots,” Ehlers said, adding that all four of the seniors will be missed last year for their performance and their presence.

Louwagie and Parsons recorded a 130 and 133 to place 80th and 84th on the tournament. They shot a 42 and 45 respectively on Wednesday.

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