The Montezuma Boys’ Golf team hosts the state qualifier banner, the first in school history for the golf program, after finishing third at district at CAM Anita in western Iowa last week. Pictured are, from left: Coach Randy Masterson, Max Anderson, Jack Erselius, Cruz DeJong, Maguire DeJong, Owen Cook, Carsten James, Brady Boulton and Coach Liesl Roorda. Submitted photos
By J.O. Parker
“It’s a been a very good season,” said Randy Masterson, coach of the Montezuma Boys’ Golf team, after the Braves punched their ticket to state following a third place finish at districts last week.
This is the first golf team in Montezuma school history to make it to state.
The team includes Max Anderson, Jack Erselius, Cruz DeJong, Maguire DeJong, Owen Cook, Brady Boulton and Carsten James.
Liesl Roorda helps Masterson with the coaching duties.
Masterson, who is in his third season leading Montezuma, said most of the golf team is the same as last year, minus Eddie Burgess.
He said the Braves fell just short of making it to state last year and coming into the 2023 season, the team had their sights set high.
“Their main goal is to win state, not just get there,” said Masterson.
“They worked hard during the offseason,” he added.
They finished the 2023 season with a 45-7 record, which included winning the SICL and sectionals. Masterson said five of the seven loses came at the hands of bigger 3A schools.
Districts were held at CAM Anita in Western Iowa.
Montezuma finished third behind champions South Hamilton, who finished with a score of 318 and CAM Anita, who finished with a score of 325. Montezuma had 328.
“We beat South Hamilton at sectionals by 20 strokes, but they ended up getting us at districts by 10 strokes,” Masterson said.
Typically, the top two finishers advance to state unless the host team advances. With CAM Anita being the host school and advancing to state, that opened the door for Montezuma.
“We didn’t play our best, but we were able to do good enough to get to state and we will see where we go from there,” said Masterson.
When asked for his thoughts on the season, Montezuma golfer Jack Erselius, who started as a freshman on the junior varsity squad two years ago and worked his way to a spot on the varsity team last year, along with this year’s success, said it means the world to him to be a part of the first Montezuma golf team to advance to state.
“After a disappointing end to the year last season, I think I realized how good we could really be and what we could’ve gotten done,” said Erselius. “To be in that position now that I had only imagined would happen has been an absolute dream.”
Erselius said whenever he plays with golfers from other schools, they ask the same thing about Montezuma’s success.
“I have a simple answer: ‘We all have a passion for the game and want to constantly get better.’ To be quite honest, when I look at this team, I think we are all perfectionists,” he said. “When we see something is wrong with our game, we work to improve it because the feeling of improvement is something special.”
“This year as a team, we have worked extremely hard with state always in the back of our minds,” said Cruz DeJong, a junior on the team.
He said at each meet, the team focused on setting the bar high in both personal and team goals with the final outcome being state qualifiers.
“We know as a team that the job’s not finished and we have to keep working to come out on top at state,” said DeJong. “We are very appreciative of our coaches, parents and support we have received and are excited for state.”
Montezuma is one of 10 teams to qualify for state competition in Class 1A. State competition will be held at the Ames Golf & Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, May 22-23.
All teams will have staggering start times beginning at 10 a.m., both days.
According to Masterson, up to six players can compete each day on the 18-hole golf course. The top four scores both days are calculated to find a winner.
“It’s going to be tough competition,” said Masterson.
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