‘Birdies and the bees’
Before carding a career-best 83 on Tuesday at Prairie West Golf Course in Mandan, Minot High School freshman golfer Paige Argent averaged 100 through her first eight rounds of the season.
Argent’s score wasn’t the only thing to wow coach Scott Foltz. Following a 41 on the front 9, the spindly youngster was stung on her right ring finger as she teed off on hole No. 10.
“Paige learned about the birdies and bees,” Foltz joked. “She just played with a lot of confidence yesterday and she shot a 42 after being stung.”
Argent, whose previous best was 87, downplayed any pain she experienced, but initially had to play through the numbness.
“It hurt, but it didn’t really affect my swing or anything so that was good,” Argent said. “I hit my drive a little bit to the right. I hit my seven iron right next to the green and I chipped it in from 20 yards off of the green.”
The 83 was good enough to qualify for the state tournament on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
“Paige has put a lot of work into her game lately,” Foltz said. “She’s really been focusing, along with the team, on her short game. She’s probably got our best short game on the team. She’s really good at getting it up and down.
“I really think her second shot and then just her play around the green (are her strengths). She was never left with a really long putt (Tuesday). She was either on in regulation or she got up and down.”
The Majettes can qualify for state as a team with a strong showing at the West Region tournament Monday in Jamestown.
Vocal Weishaar anchors soccer team
The defense has patiently waited for the offense to catch up on the Minot High School boys soccer team. The Magicians are struggling to score consistently, but the back line and senior goalkeeper Garrett Weishaar have kept MHS (4-3-4 overall, 2-2-3 West Region) in games.
Weishaar posted two shutouts through the previous four games in just six days. He has four shutouts on the season, but the previous two came on successive nights in scoreless draws against two of the top teams in the state.
“He has stepped up big,” MHS coach Cody Saunders said. “He had a tough game (Tuesday), but, I mean, two shots inside the 6 and 18 is not his fault.
“He’s being more vocal, he’s coming out of the box and winning balls in the air and he’s definitely becoming a leader for us. He’s talking more back there and that’s what he needs to do.”
Defensive breakdowns stranded Weishaar twice in a 2-2 tie with West Region leader Bismarck High (9-0-4, 5-0-2) on Tuesday. Late last week, he blanked two-time defending state champion Century (6-2-4, 2-1-3) and followed it with a shutout the next night over East Region leader Shanley (10-2-1). The ties against the Bismarck schools marked improvement as MHS lost to both earlier in the season.
Weishaar made two impressive stops early Tuesday to allow MHS to build a lead and could be heard directing the team throughout the match. Weishaar was far from vocal as a junior and even early this season.
“I was a little bit more quiet in the beginning,” he said. “Still getting used to getting back in the pace of things and then my goalie coach Mark (Gray) really pushed me to start screaming and stuff, so I did and we started rolling some more and got used to it more.”
Said Saunders: “It’s tough when you’re the goalie if you’re not getting the ball. You need to still be involved and you get to see the whole field. It’s kind of like if you’re upbeat the rest of the team is upbeat.”
MHS is tied for third in the West with Century at seven points. BHS is first with 12 and St. Mary’s has 10. Teams receive two points for a win and one for a tie. The Magicians play Fargo Davies at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Mandan.
Beach eyes the top pack in XC
Andrew Beach has seen the best of the West Region twice this season and he isn’t daunted by the top pack.
The region’s elite faced off in consecutive weekends at Dickinson and Mandan with Bismarck’s Matt Gotta and Dickinson’s Jackson Binstock trading the top spot. Both runners ran winning times of 16 minutes, 1 second. Beach is still a bit off the pace with a top time of 16:49, ran Saturday in Mandan.
Beach ran a personal best of 16:44 as a junior, but feels his training is on pace for a significant drop in time as the season reaches its second half. MHS won’t see many of the region’s teams for a couple weeks, but Beach knows which competitors he needs to keep pace with.
“I’ve kind of been keeping an eye on Tom Clausnitzer from Bismarck and he’s only been a little bit ahead of me,” Beach said, “but I’m trying to set my bar a little higher, like Sam Clausnitzer, of Bismarck, and Preston Lerew.”
Sam Clausnitzer and Lerew (also BHS) traded third and fourth in the previous two meets with times of 16:09 and 16:11, respectively, in Mandan. Beach was 40 seconds behind Sam Clausnitzer.
“It seems a little far-fetched right now, but I just need to insert myself in the pack a little sooner in the race and hope for the best,” Beach said.
MHS took third as a team at both meets. The Demons crushed the competition, but the Magicians fell just 10 and four points behind Century. Senior Sean Krill has emerged as one of the Magicians’ next best. He was second on the team in 17:09 at Mandan, 33 seconds better than he ran the week before.
“He had a crazy good race at Mandan and it’s surprising, but at the same time it wasn’t something completely unexpected,” Beach said. “He’s been making strides every year.”
MHS competes at the Milaca Mega Meet on Saturday in Milaca, Minnesota. The West Region schedule resumes Oct. 3 at the Williston Invitational.
MHS newcomer adds depth to backfield
Friday’s game at Williston was well out of reach by the time Minot High School senior running back Braden Rotta received his first carry.
The Boise, Idaho, transfer had five carries for 37 yards as the Magicians ran out the clock on a 42-0 trouncing of the Coyotes. Rotta was tripped up on his final carry, a 27-yard scamper to the WHS 10-yard line as time expired.
“I was a little disappointed that I tripped up on that last one, but I was excited, for sure,” Rotta said. “It was really cool. I definitely give a lot of it to the blocking. Our line did a really good job on both of the plays that I got yardage on, so that was what made the big difference.”
Rotta also ran hard and gained yards on four of the carries. MHS has a loaded backfield with senior Brady Lampert, a second-team all-state selection in 2012, and junior Karter Gorney. Gorney is the defending champion in the Class A 100-meter dash.
“All of them know the offense really well,” Rotta said. “They all run well … they’ve all been doing it for a long time. (They) make good cuts. They’re just all-around solid skilled position players.”
Despite the carries coming late in a blowout, Rotta proved his worth with a tough running style that further bolsters the Magicians’ deep backfield.
“We’ve had to take a little extra time for him to learn our system and now he’s got a nice handle on at least a portion of our offense and we certainly could give him the ball too,” MHS coach Barry Holmen said. “He’s got great speed.”
Kinchen has breakout game
Tre Kinchen had just three catches for a total of 27 yards through the Magicians’ first two games. The 5-foot-8, 140-pound senior isn’t as fast as classmate Kimani Benjamin (6-2, 186), the team’s other starting receiver. Kinchen’s also considerably smaller than senior tight end Jacob Holmen (6-2, 195), a reliable and favorite target in the passing game.
Kinchen is quick and sure-handed and played a major role in bringing along sophomore quarterback Ben Bolinske, who made just his second career start in Friday’s 42-0 win over Williston.
Kinchen led the team with five receptions for 79 yards to account for half of Bolinske’s completions.
“He had his best game,” MHS coach Barry Holmen said. “Most of his catches were simply just throw him the ball fairly quickly and then he made a guy miss and a two-yard pass turns into a (big) gain because he’s that little scat back, quick guy that’s hard to tackle in space.”
All five receptions went for 11 yards or more, including a 27-yard reception on the team’s opening drive of the second half. Three plays later, senior Brady Lampert scored on a 13-yard run.
“(Bolinske’s) young, he’s got to work his way into it,” Kinchen said. “He’s doing a really good job. As long as we run crisp routes, we might not always get the ball, but we’re getting other guys open and that can lead to big plays.”
Kinchen’s steady play helped offset two Bolinske interceptions.
“If he makes a mistake, we just gotta keep him up, build him up and praise him when he makes a good play,” Kinchen said.
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.