WAHPETON — It was going to take awhile for Zach Teske to put this slow start behind him.
A runner-up at the 2018 Class A Boys State Golf Tournament, the West Fargo junior's attempt to build on that strong showing began in rocky fashion, after he bogeyed the first hole of the 2019 tournament.
Teske's hopes of getting back on track were then delayed, as a rainstorm halted play for over an hour.
Though not pleased with the bogey, Teske said being forced to the clubhouse gave him the opportunity to collect himself and recover mentally from a less-than-ideal beginning.
"It probably helped me regroup a bit, calm down," he said. "It definitely helped, I think."
Improvements came immediately after play resumed, as Teske eventually earned a second straight All-State finish, placing fifth with a two-day score of 146 at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course on June 4-5.
After shooting par on the second hole, Teske recorded consecutive birdies on three and four. He also birdied the ninth and 18th holes and by day's end, was again tied for second with a one-over-par score of 72.
Packer coach Greg Limke, who refers to Teske as "the parmaster," had little doubt his top player would come back from the rain delay with a renewed focus.
"That's what we've come to expect from Zach," Limke said. "He's about as solid a high school golfer as you're going to find. He makes very few mistakes."
If there was one thing Teske hopes to clean up in his final high school season, it's how he closes at state, where his second-day score fell shy of his opening-day performance for a second consecutive year.
As he did last year, he had a day-two state score of 74. He shot a 71 in the opening round of the 2018 tournament at the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson.
Teske was happy with how hit the ball off the tee last Wednesday, but felt his putting was a little off. Beginning play two shots back of Grand Forks Central's Cole Hanson, Teske admits he was scoreboard watching at times, something he hopes to correct next season.
"I've got to stop worrying about where I'm at and what everyone's doing and just play as well as I can," he said.
With three of four players who placed ahead of him -- including Hanson who recorded a winning score of 141 -- set to graduate, Teske's goal entering next season is very clear.
Win a state championship.
"That would be insane," he said. "The last two years there's been seniors I felt were better than me that performed well at the state tournament. Next year, it's wide open. I definitely think (winning is) doable."
As a team, the Packers were much sharper on day two, recording a nine-shot improvement en route to a fourth-place score of 599.
Grand Forks Red River captured its third consecutive championship at 589, three shots better than Central and eight better than third-place Fargo Davies. It marked the 24th time in the last 26 years an Eastern Dakota Conference team won a state championship.
Jaden Welk and Jackson Worner, who tied for 11th and 15th respectively, shot a team-best 73 on day two. This marked a four-shot improvement from day one for Welk, while Worner improved by five.
No. 4 scorer Cade Pederson improved by two strokes on the second day, shooting a 75 and finishing tied for 18th with a score of 152.
The Packers' day-two score of 295 was their best in two seasons, the third best of the round and the fourth best of the state tournament. It was also a four-shot improvement from their winning score at the East Region Tournament, also at Bois de Sioux, a week earlier.
"Day two was fantastic," Limke said. "That's about as good as we could be. We are extremely proud of that finish."
One spot behind the Packers, West Fargo Sheyenne placed fifth with a score of 617.
The Mustangs also had a marked improvement from Tuesday to Wednesday, improving by seven shots at 305.
Blaze Ackerland, who tied Teske for second at state in 2018, tied for 11th overall with a score of 150. Aided by an eagle on the par-four sixth hole, he finished the second day with a score of 73.
Other Mustangs scorers were Bennett Persoon (T25, 155), Layton Bartley (T30, 157) and Adam Parkinson (T38, 160). All four players made at least three-shot improvements from Tuesday to Wednesday, which provided a nice finish to an inconsistent season.
"We just kind of got off to a slow start as a team and I think that kind of carried throughout the season," coach Dan Wolf said. "(At state) I think we finally started to play the way we were capable of playing."
With only one senior departing, Wolf hopes a more experienced group can find a consistency that was lacking this spring.
"Our core should be back," he said. "We're going to hope to start a little quicker next year and hopefully not be in one of these ruts where it can take us awhile to figure things out."