Minot High sets sights on West Region crown

The Minot High girls golf team competes against seven teams in the West Region and 17 across the state.

But there is another team the Majettes are looking to best this season, even though they won’t compete head-to-head this season. That team is the Minot High boys golf squad, fresh off its best season since 2003.

The Magicians claimed the region title and finished fourth at state. The Majettes are up to the challenge of mirroring that success.

“We’re going to try and do exactly what they did,” senior McKinley Bender said. “They worked hard for it and I think we’re going to do the same.”

Bender is the lone senior on the roster. As a junior, she helped guide the Majettes to a sixth-place finish at the West Region tournament and a 10th-place finish at state. Bender finished the state tournament with a two-day score of 182 a week after receiving all-region tournament honors. She said she hopes to finish in the top 10 individually at both the region and state tournaments in her final year.

Minot coach Scott Foltz, who resigned as the boys golf coach following the 2013 season, said Bender, as well as sophomores Paige Argent – an all-region selection last year – MaKensey Arlien and freshman Marley Foltz will serve as the Majettes’ top four scorers early on.

“We are going to depend heavily on them this season,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of experience. We’re going to be lacking a five and a six for part of the season as we develop the younger players. Our 1-4 have got to be ready to go every day.”

Although he’s only observed a few practice rounds, Foltz said he likes what he sees. He believes the short game is the biggest strength at the moment, but said Minot could be just as good off the tee with time.

“We are a very good putting team,” Foltz said. “We putt the ball well. I think as the season progresses our driving is going to be an advantage for us. We have some kids who can hit the ball but not necessarily hit it as far as we’d like them too right now.”

Perhaps more motivating than seeing their male counterparts’ success on the links is returning to Souris Valley Golf Course. For the last three years, the Majettes have called Roughrider Golf Course on the Minot Air Force Base home following the 2011 Souris River Flood.

Souris Valley Golf Course will host the Minot Invite on Tuesday. Minot is hoping to claim its home tournament much like the boys did in April.

“We’re excited to be playing back at Souris,” Bender said. “The last three years we’ve been playing at the Base. Souris is going to be our first actual 18-hole tournament. We’ve been practicing there all week and we’re getting to know our course.”

Prior to the Minot Invite, the Majettes tee off in the East-West Classic at Jamestown Country Club to open their season. The two-day tournament begins today at 1 p.m.

Minot competes in eight tournaments leading up to the West Region tournament. If the Majettes show steady improvement throughout the season, Foltz likes his chances at a region title.

“We would like to be battling for a West Region title,” he said. “I think with the experience we return that we can be a threat, kind of a dark horse threat, to win the West Region title, and ultimately qualify for the state tournament.”

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.