WAHPETON — After spending all season in the middle of the pack, many were likely surprised to see West Fargo come out on top of the East Region Boys Golf Tournament last week.
After earning just one top-three finish at conference matches this spring, the Packers topped their previous best score by nine strokes, finishing at 299 to defeat runner-up Grand Forks Central by a stroke at the May 29 tournament at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course in Wahpeton.
Packer coach Greg Limke also felt a sense of surprise, but not the one likely felt throughout the conference. After returning five players from a team that placed third at last season's state tournament, Limke didn't expect it would take his team as long as it did to find itself on top of the leaderboard.
“We felt like we had a chance to be in the mix but we really hadn’t shown it throughout the year," he said. "The way we performed throughout the year was a bit of a surprise. We just couldn't string four good scores together for whatever reason."
Last Wednesday, they did just that, as all four scorers placed inside the top-10.
The star of the day was Jaden Welk, who tied teammates Jackson Worner and Cade Pederson for fourth place with a score of 74. It was the best score of Welk's career.
In 10th place, Zach Teske, a 2018 state runner-up, completed the scoring for West Fargo at 77.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the performance is that the Packers did it at a course where they'd shot a 315 just nine days earlier. The Class A State Tournament, which is also at Bois de Sioux, kicked off on Tuesday.
Having tasted victory for the first time all season, Limke expects his team to pick up right where it left off.
"It's do-or-die time," he said. "Now is the time you've got to kick it in and play to your full potential."
Blaze Ackerland, who tied with Teske for second at the 2018 state tournament, had a team-best score of 78 for Sheyenne, which placed fifth at East Region with a score of 323.
Recaps from each day of state tournament play can be found at westfargopioneer.com.