BRAINERD — For the first time in six years, the Brainerd Warriors roster will not feature a boy named Erik Stoxen.
The graduate ended his career in style with a top 15 at the Class 3A State Tournament.
But Stoxen’s leadership will be missed. Hoping to fill that void, Turner Person and juniors Max Holmstrom and Dawson Ringler are back.
“It’s definitely something where we already miss his presence and we will miss his scores on the golf course,” Warriors head coach Brian Wallace said of Stoxen. “He was just rock solid. It will be a hole for our team.
Person was Brainerd’s No. 4 scorer in the Section 8-3A encounter, where they finished third. He shot 76-89 for a two-day 165.
“Turner, being a senior, needs to step up and take on that leadership role, but we also need him to be a solid top scorer for our team,” Wallace said. “I think he’s ready for that. I think he’s matured a lot in the last two or three years. I think he’s ready for the challenge.
Holmstrom shot rounds 87-83 for a 170 that placed him 33rd in sections.
“Max is our strongest golfer,” Wallace said. “It remains to be seen if he has control of that power and I really hope he does because it can really turn into some great scores. He has one of the fastest swing speeds of all the kids I’ve ever had. He’s big and strong and he just needs to control that strength.
“He also has to figure out how not to put himself down so hard. Of all the kids, he’s probably the hardest on himself. You overcome this hump, I think, it will also be very good.
A spot behind Holmstrom was Ringler who shot a 171 with rounds at 85-86.
“I think with his skill level it’s just about being confident and having faith in your game and not putting yourself down,” Wallace said. “He’s got all the tools and he’s scored really well to start the year and he’s slipped back a bit over the season. But he’s worked hard on his game and spent a lot of time on it. I think that’s him. will report this year.
I told the boys on day one that our ultimate goal was to take it to the next level.
Ryan Kennedy saw college time last season and the hope is the second can fill one of three open spots on the Warriors roster.
“Ryan, as a ninth grader, got some college experience because of the circumstances we had,” Wallace said. “He also had a chance because of his competitiveness and he’s the kind of kid who just uses his natural athletic abilities and moves around the golf course. He’s not really flashy, he just works hard. Having some experience from last year will pay big dividends for him this year, we are looking for him to step in and be part of the team.
Keegan Davidge, a junior, is close to making the varsity roster, and Wallace has seen his game grow over the past few years. Logan Carlson is a senior who never played golf in high school before, but has golf experience. Wallace hopes he can be a surprise recruit, but he has yet to see him on a golf course. Lance Zemke, another senior, lacks college experience, but Wallace said the door is open to anyone showing promise.
“We have a lot of kids and from what we’ve seen so far we have a lot of really good swings, but whether or not those good swings translate into good scores remains to be seen,” said Wallace. “We have a lot of kids that we haven’t had on the team before. There are so many unknowns. With the swings we saw on the lower site, there are some really solid swings, but who knows how that will translate to the golf course.
When the Warriors actually start their season is a weather mystery. Another issue is when the team can actually go out on a golf course. Until the snow melted, the team held team meetings to talk about golf rules and etiquette. They went twice to the lower site, next to the high school and hit real balls.
“We also use the Riverside Elementary gymnasium, but that involves hitting a foul ball on fake grass,” Wallace said. “We also practice our putt. It’s worth the time.
Brainerd has a full schedule after having a condensed schedule last season. Back on the calendar is Blaine’s invitation. This year it will be a two-day event at the Majestic Oaks Golf Course.
The Pequot Lakes invite moves to The Pines in Grand View, while Brainerd brings his 24 guest teams back to Cragun’s Legacy courses.
“I told the boys on day one that our ultimate goal was to take it to the next level,” Wallace said. “We’ve never been able to accomplish this before. They are capable. We have enough good players to reach that next level and it all depends on confidence. If we have the moxie at the end of the season, we can level up. The regular season is basically just a practice for that final game. Everything is built on it.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at 218-855-5856 or [email protected] Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
The head coach: Brian Wallace, 21st year
Finish 2019: Third in section 8-3A
Returning Section Players: Turner Person, Max Holmstrom, Dawson Ringler
Coach’s Assistant:Brian Gustafson
captains: Turner Person, Dawson Ringler
SeniorsBernat Bellsola, Lance Zemke, Logan Carlson, Turner Person, Zach Schaeffer
junior: Dawson Ringler, Keegan Davidge, Max Holmstrom
Second year students: Alex Asche, Alex McFarlin, Brady Rushin, Bryan Schaitberger, Evan Shogren, Marty Timmons, Peter Yeager, Ryan Gerlich, Ryan Kennedy, Ryan Madsen, Sebastian Hopkins, William Larson
Freshmen: Henry Hartwig, Riley Lingl, Trey Hendrickson, Tyler Lehmann
Eighth grade student: Drew Haakonson
Monday, April 18: CLC Meat at Rich Springs 3:30 p.m.
April 21: Pequot Lakes Invitation to The Pines at Grand View 11 a.m.
April 25: CLC meeting at Pebble Lake 3:30 p.m.
April 28: CLC meeting at St. Cloud Country Club 3:30 p.m.
May 2: CLC meeting at the Territory Golf Club 4 p.m.
May 6: Blaine Invites at Majestic Oaks 1:30 p.m.
May 7: Blaine Invites at Majestic Oaks 7:30 a.m.
May 9: CLC meeting at Cragun’s Legacy 4 p.m.
May 13: Presection 8-3A at Headwaters Golf Course 10 a.m.
May 16: CLC Championship at Eagle Creek Golf Course 4 p.m.
May 23: CLC Championship at Blackberry Ridge 4 p.m.
May 25: Invitation of warriors to Cragun’s Legacy classes 10 a.m.
June 2; Section 8-3A First round at Headwaters 9 a.m.
June 3: Section 8-3A Final at Headwaters 9 a.m.