MCCOOK — For the Sidney boys golf team, qualifying for the state tournament was at the top of its to-do list all season long.
The Red Raiders accomplished just that after carding a 328 to place runner-up at the Class B, District 4 Tournament on Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook.
Led by individual champion Austin Miller, Sidney finished just two strokes behind district champion McCook. Miller carded a winning round of 75.
Scottsbluff, the two-time defending district champion, earned a third-place finish with a 342.
All three teams qualified for the state tournament, which will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday in Kearney.
“It was a good day,” Sidney coach Chuck Christiansen said. “It wasn’t a great day, but obviously Austin [Miller] had a great day being the low medalist for the day.”
Miller captured top honors individually by two strokes over McCook’s Mackenzie Alspaugh and Sean Backer, and Scottsbluff’s Andrew Holloway, who all carded a 77.
Miller, who qualified for the state tournament for the first time in his career, lauded his teammates for reaching two of the goals they set for the season.
“We’re excited,” Miller said. “Our main two goals at the beginning of the year were to win conference and we accomplished that, and to qualify for state and we did that, too. Now our goal is to do well at state, so I hope we can get that one, too.”
Miller finished the first round two strokes behind Alspaugh, who fired an opening-round 36 to grab the early lead in the tournament. Gothenburg’s Jeramie Van Acker also had a good first round with a 37. Holloway and Gering’s Colton Keller joined Miller’s pursuit of Alspaugh on the front, each wrapping up 38s heading to the back nine.
“The McCook course is pretty tough,” Miller said. “I was pretty happy with the score, but I missed a lot of easy birdie puts. It could have been a lot better.”
Miller beat Alspaugh by four strokes in the final round, turning in a 37 to edge out the next three places by two strokes.
In addition to Miller and Holloway, other local individual medalists were Sidney’s Taylor Barton and Gering’s Keller. Barton finished seventh with a 79 and Keller ended 10th with an 81.
The top three teams and top 10 individuals earned qualifications into the state tournament.
Scottsbluff coach Mike Klein said his squad overcame a shaky first round. He was pleased with the Bearcats’ overall performance and ability to play through adversity.
“We got through it and that was the goal,” Klein said. “We kind of dug a hole for ourselves on the front nine because we didn’t play very good. But, to their credit, they hung in there and kept going and things got a little better on the back nine. Everybody improved a little bit and it turned out to be just enough. We didn’t have a very good day and we still got through it. But now that’s all behind us. It’s a whole new deal at state.”
Christiansen was also pleased with his team’s finish, and noted that the Red Raiders are playing well at the right time.
“The kids’ goal was to get to state and now their goal is to finish in the top three at state,” he said. “They still have some more work to do, but they’re getting there.”
The state tournament will start on Tuesday at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course in Kearney. Tee times and first-round pairings can be found on the NSAA’s website at http://www.nsaahome.org/textfile/bgolf/bgday1b.htm.
McCook 326, Sidney 328, Scottsbluff 342, Broken Bow 344, Gering 352, Holdrege 354, Ogallala 360, Gothenburg 364, Chadron 374, Alliance 386, Lexington 399, Cozad 405
Individual Top 10
1, Austin Miller, Sidney, 75. 2, Mackenzie Alspaugh, McCook, 77. 3, Sean Backer, McCook, 77. 4, Andrew Holloway, Scottsbluff, 77. 5, Tanner Johnson, Broken Bow, 78. 6, Marcus Miller, Broken Bow, 78. 7, Jackson Graham, Gothenburg, 79. 8, Taylor Barton, Sidney, 81. 9, Shad Krajewski, Ogallala, 81. 10, Colton Keller, Gering, 81.
Local Individual Team Scoring
Alliance — Nick Maser 82, Parker Cyza 98, Ryan Taylor 97, Logan Dietrich 113, Devan Oligmueller 109. Broken Bow — Tanner Johnson 78, Marcus Miller 78, Grayson Minnick 95, Austin Reynolds 98, Nate Hanson 93. Chadron — Hunter Hageman 87, Alec Burk 96, Brenton Bauekemper 96, Josh Wild 95, Calen Johnson 109. Cozad — Ty Rogers 86, Micah Neill 105, Adam McGinnis 111, Devan Wilkins 111, Jack Cornelius 103. Gering — Colton Keller 81, Reggie Reyes 83, Derek Plegge 93, Kyle Hemphill 95, Austin Kaufman 114. Gothenburg — Jackson Graham 79, Jeramie Van Acker 84, Trenton Long 97, Alix Meisinger 104, Dillon Linegar 106. Holdrege — Nolan Breece 91, Jacob Fuehrer 91, Caleb Ostgren 91, Marcus Vaneperen 87, Jeff Ehresman 85. Lexington — Trever Miller 91, Tyson Block 91, Brian McMahon 111, Tim Harris 150, Deep Desai 106. McCook — Sean Backer 77, Alan Goodenberger 83, Mackenzie Alspaugh 77, James Mitnik 89, David Durner 105. Ogallala — Tyler Zoellner 85, Shad Krajewski 81, Zach Fuller 98, Adam Crandall 96, James Knaggs 98. Scottsbluff — Andrew Holloway 77, Michael Hadden 84, Curtis Welsh 86, Koy Potthoff 95, Grant Lacey 101. Sidney — Austin Miller 75, Taylor Barton 81, Ryan Lococo 85, Conor Lococo 92, Brendon Brown 87.