by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Elk River golfers finished in the middle of the pack and had two all-conference players, Garrett Turnacliff and Riley Johnson, at the concluding Northwest Suburban meet Thursday.
After the 11 teams played 27 holes at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, Blaine emerged as team champion, followed by Andover, Anoka, Maple Grove, Osseo, and the Elks in sixth place. The Elks were behind five teams and ahead of five.
The golfers enjoyed sunny mid-60’s weather with a breeze, in contrast to cold, wet conditions in the few meets that have been played previously.
The NWSC finale is usually 18 holes but they added nine this year due to numerous postponed smaller meets, in order to officially end the season with no makeups, said Elk coach Dave Conley.
Sam Steinwand of Andover was season medalist by a wide margin.
Turnacliff, a junior in his fourth varsity season, shot 79-39-118, leading the Elks, and wound up 13th in the season individual standings.
Johnson, a sophomore who was 10th coming into the meet, had a rough day with 88-43-131 and finished tied for 20th, still making all-conference.
Peyton Holmes, a sophomore, shot a solid 82-39-121 that got him on the team’s section lineup, said Conley.
Grant Bunker shot 79-45-124, Jason Peterson 89-41-130, and Joey Martin 90-42-132.
“We’ve had such a slow start due to the weather that it’s hard to make a lot of improvement,” said Conley. “We’ll keep trying to improve so we can contend at the section meet.”
Like all prep golf teams in the state, the Elks have spent a lot of time indoors (24 days) this spring, after staying inside 23 days last year. In 2012, they had only one day in the gym.
“Golf,” Conley said, “is not an indoor game.”
The Elks will play in an invitational at Grand National in Hinckley on May 27, and will return to the same course on May 31 for the first round of Section 7AAA.