In a section filled with Staples-Motley and St. Cloud Cathedral, Dustin Herold’s name doesn’t get mentioned in front-runner conversation.
But the Pierz junior’s name was called out a lot last week.
The Pioneers varsity veteran played and won three golf events last week to build his confidence heading into the Section 6-2A tournaments.
He’s qualified for the section second round twice before, but thoughts of a state tournament are on Herold’s mind.
“The last two years he’s made it to the second day of sectional play,” said Pierz’s first-year head coach Chris Dobis. “He was on that fine line and was able to slide in to make it to the second day. This year, he’s got an opportunity to compete for a chance at a state tournament bid. There are a lot of good golfers in our section, but I think if Dustin can avoid the big numbers he’ll be right there. He can consistently make pars all round. If he can avoid the double he’s pretty tough.”
Herold shot a 38 April 24 at the Pierz Municipal to earn medalist honors and help the Pioneers to a tie for first in a Central Minnesota Conference meet. He was at even par heading into the last two holes, but back-to-back bogeys gave him his final score.
Two days later at the Kimball Country Club, Herold shot 86 to win his second straight tournament.
“There are a lot of tricky stuff and blind shots at Kimball,” said Dobis. “It was cold so an 86, while a little high for a medalist score, was pretty good given the conditions. Everyone was just trying to hold on, move around and stay warm.”
Herold made it three-for-three as he almost broke 80 for the first time in a tournament. He shot an 81 at the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Invite April 27 to lead Pierz to fourth.
“I walked with him for the first five holes because he asked me to,” Dobis said. “Some players like it, some don’t, but he asked me if I would mind starting out with him and I had no problem with that. I walked the first five holes with him and started with a birdie and then made a few bogeys after missing some short putts. So he was 2-over after five. I let him be and when I caught up to him on 13, he was 8-over. But 13 was a par 3 and he made a 25-foot putt for birdie.”
Herold was on the tee box of his 18th hole with the opportunity to break 80, but a bogey handed him an 81.
But Dobis said that didn’t phase his No. 1 player. Not much does.
“He is such an even keel kid,” Dobis said. “If he makes a big number he doesn’t let it bother him on the next hole. That’s his biggest strength. If he can get a little bit more consistent with his scoring he’ll be in contention at sections.”
And Dobis believes Herold has it in him to do that. Along with the ability to find the fairway off most tee boxes, Herold is a sponge willing to absorb a lot to improve.
“He’s always asking questions to get better,” Dobis said. “Some kids don’t ask, but he’s not afraid to ask questions and then ask more about it. He’s always wondering how things work and how to apply them to his game.”
Other notable performances:
Golf: Kyle Thompson, Aitkin, shot 39 for medalist honors in a Great River Conference dual.
Michael Strain, Staples-Motley, shot 70 for medalist honors at Blueberry Pines.
Baseball: Ryan Redfield, Wadena-Deer Creek, struck out 11 in a no-hit victory against Pequot Lakes.
Nathan Ehnstrom, Aitkin, finished 2-3 with two runs and two RBIs against Isle. He also struck out 10 against Hinckley-Finlayson.
Collin Eckman, Little Falls, went 5-5 with a double and triple against Milaca.
Trent Davis, Pierz, went 3-4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs against Eden Valley-Watkins.
Matt Doss, Pillager, went 3-3 with two RBIs and pitched the win against Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale.
Track and field: Adam Bandemer, Pillager, won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the Onamia Invite.
Cory Vanhal, Pillager, won the 100 dash and the pole vault at the Onamia Invite.
Wesley DeLong, Pillager, won the 400 dash and 800 run and the long jump at the Onamia Invite.
Garret Horejsi, Little Falls, won the 110 and 300 hurdles at the Milaca Invite.
Brian Huber, Staples-Motley, won the 100 and 200 dashes, long jump and high jump at the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Invite and at the Hawley Invite.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.