Heartland Lutheran’s boys golf team wanted to make a return trip to the Class D state tournament this year after winning the state title a year ago.
The Red Hornets earned that trip to state — but just barely.
Heartland Lutheran finished third at the Class D, District 2 meet Monday at Indianhead Golf Club. The top three teams plus top 10 individuals qualify for the Class D state meet May 21-22 at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course in Kearney.
“Just like last year, they really came through on the back nine,” Heartland Lutheran coach Dan Bremmer said. “Last year we won the district. This year, it was just a battle from where we were.”
Fullerton won the team title with a 360 while Deshler was second at 376.
The Red Hornets finished with a 381, just two strokes ahead of Loup City.
Bremmer didn’t think his team was going to make it after the front nine when the Red Hornets were sitting in 10th place.
“I didn’t think there was any chance, but the kids mustered it up and played well,” Bremmer said. “I was very proud of them. They’re a team that wants to do better. They keep wanting to play hard and they were rewarded for that.
“Next week we’ll go at it again at state and see what happens.”
Grant Suchanek led the Red Hornets with a 92 while Zach Blase shot 94, Jacob Stinson 97 and Josh Sugita 98 to round out the top four.
“All of them have been shooting lower,” Bremmer said. “I thought as well as we’d been playing this past week in practice that it was going to be pretty good for us. There were some other pretty good scores from other schools. I thought we were going to have to play our best if we wanted to go to state this year.”
Fullerton won the district title and qualified for state by placing two in the top 10. T.J. Ostransky led the Warriors with an 85 for sixth while Ethan Shotkoski shot 86 for seventh place.
“Garrett Shaum (93) struggled but kept his head in the game and gave us a score we could use,” Fullerton coach Shawn Ostransky said. “Colin Nathan was four strokes better on the back nine. His brother Brian, his first time out for golf, came back eight strokes better on the back nine.”
The Warriors took advantage of some late rescheduling of postponed meets to get some good practice time as the regular season wound down.
“About two weeks ago we started playing all our meets that were cancelled and we just started getting better and better,” Coach Ostransky said. “I was hoping they could perform like they did here. I was really pleased with their play. They stuck with it and played 18 holes.”
It wasn’t the Warriors’ best performance of the year, but it was good enough on this day.
“We’re a young team,” Ostransky said. “My goal is we got state this year. Next year I’m hoping we can go, and I have seven freshmen sitting at home waiting to take off.
“Hopefully we can have what I call a dynasty with five, six, seven years in a row where we get to go as a team.”
Bremmer thinks there is more out there for his team too.
“I don’t think it was our best (Monday), but it was on a day that was kind of fickle,” Bremmer said. “Scores were up. Even where we were on the front nine, I thought well we have a chance if they do it on the back and they did it.”
Red Cloud’s Blake Brumbaugh took medalist honors with a 78. Brumbaugh defeated Cross County’s Dalton Clark in a one-hole playoff for the title.
Loup City qualified two individuals for the state meet. Brady Lewandowski finished eighth at 87 and Austin Jakubowski 10th at 89.