New Prague's McKenzie Neisen made a birdie on the seventh hole during Tuesday's first round of the Class 3A girls' golf state tournament at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. Photo: Elizabeth Flores * email@example.com
The New Prague girls’ golf program gradually built a state champion. Now the Trojans are trying to stay on top.
The Class 3A defending state champion entered this week’s two-day event at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids with the memory of their state championship coach Matt Shetka, who died of a heart attack in December.
Dan Holgate, who served as an assistant coach under Shetka, is the new Trojans mentor.
“I coached golf with coach Shetka for 12 years, so it made the transition a little easier,” Holgate said. “The girls have become very close this year.”
The Trojans wore commemorating pins in Shetka’s honor when they successfully defended their Section 2 championship.
Junior McKenzie Neisen, the runner-up in the state tournament a year ago, shared medalist honors with Shakopee senior Alexandra Schmid.
“They know it will be very difficult to repeat at state, but they would like nothing more than to become state champs in Shetka’s honor,” Holgate said.
The tournament began Tuesday and concludes Wednesday.
Eastview coach resigns
Eastview boys’ basketball coach Mark Gerber has resigned after 12 seasons for personal reasons. He will remain at the school as a social studies teacher.
Gerber guided the Lightning to three state tournaments, including a Class 4A runner-up finish in 2005. Eastview lost to Hopkins 71-60 in double overtime in the finals.
In an e-mail to those connected to the Eastview program, Gerber wrote: “I want to personally thank the many parents and players that have made my experience as the basketball coach a highlight of my career. You have been instrumental in the success of our program and you will continue to be instrumental in future successes. The positive memories I have as a basketball coach over the past 15 years are too numerous to mention.
‘‘But, the great relationships and friendships I’ve been able to form and maintain with players, parents, and coaches over this time are, without a doubt, the most positive of all.”
•?Two high jumpers south of the Minnesota River, Eastview senior Ryan Lockard and Lakeville South sophomore Caraline Slattery, won the Class 2A state titles. Lockard won the boys’ title at 6 feet, 7 inches. Slattery won the girls’ title at 5-8.