Red-hot Magi golf team returns to state tournament

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High golfer Gavin Argent competes at the 2018 Class A boys state golf meet at the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson.

They’re back.

It was 362 days ago when the Minot High School boys golf team walked off the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson in the aftermath of a stellar Day 2 performance at the state tournament. The Magicians tallied the second-best team score of the final round, an even 300, to finish with a group score of 603 and secure fifth place — the best of any West Region team.

The Magi were led by the senior trio of Kessler Heilman (ninth place with a 148), Spencer Ross and Easton Evanoff (tied for 12th place with scores of 150), who ended their high school careers in a proper fashion.

But with their departure, plus a fourth senior in Damyn Boyce, Minot entered the 2019 season with some holes to fill and questions to answer.

So what.

Without so much of a hitch, the Magi reloaded and reestablished themselves as a force in the West Region, winning four regular-season invites.

The crowning achievement came last Tuesday, when Minot placed first as a team in the West Region Tournament with a score of 314. Now the Magi are headed back to the state tournament once again, this time in Wahpeton, with hopes of yet another strong showing.

“I think we’re capable of putting together our best rounds of the year,” MHS head coach Shane Hannegrefs said. “We have some kids that have started to play pretty well down the stretch, so we’re capable of playing really well at the state tournament.”

In the front of the pack is Gavin Argent, Minot’s poster child for consistency this season. The sophomore posted a season-best 69 at the Minot Invite on May 13, and he has been the Magi’s top scorer in all but one invite.

After placing fourth among the Magi (as an independent golfer) at state last year with a score of 154 as a freshman, the young golfer is poised for an even better result this time around with another year of experience under his belt.

“(Argent) is so much better than he was even just a year ago,” Hannegrefs said. “He’s gotten into a groove where he’s as good as any other golfer in our conference and the entire state.”

Another golfer with state experience is junior Jack Demke, who scored a 162 at last year’s tournament as sophomore.

Demke hasn’t disappointed this year either. The junior was the Magi’s second-best finisher in four of their nine invites, and he recorded a season-best 79 on May 28 at the West Region Invite.

But Argent and Demke aren’t the only golfers capable of making an impact for the Magi, as they’ve received help from a number of others.

Headlining that list is Otto Langhans, one of just two seniors on the roster. Langhans has had three Top 2 finishes amongst the team this season, and his best outing came on April 18 when he shot a 74 at the Century-Legacy Invite.

Also in the mix is the freshman duo of Peyton Bartsch and Ashton Heilman, who have each had their shining moments throughout the year.

Bartsch closed out the year with a first-place finish amongst the team (third place overall) at the West Region Invite by shooting a 77, and Heilman recorded a personal-best 78 at the Williston Invite on May 20.

“This is (Bartsch and Heilman’s) first year on varsity, so there’s been some growth there for those two,” Hannegrefs said. “I’m really just pleased with how they’ve developed as golfers, and they’re scores improve the more they get experience on the golf course.”

Also golfing for Minot will be sophomore Jacob Theis and eighth-grader Brock Jones.

It’s this depth that Minot hopes will produce a number of strong scores as the Magi prepare to compete with the best golfers in the state.

The first tee time for Day 1 is set for 9 a.m. today at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course in Wahpeton.

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.