Class A boys golf: West Fargo Sheyenne, Mustangs' Nate Peyerl win state championships
Sheyenne's Peyerl edged Fargo North's Landon Olson and Fargo Davies' Gabe Benson for the individual title and led the Mustangs to a second consecutive team championship on Wednesday.
FARGO — The West Fargo Sheyenne boys golf team has come a long way over the last two years.
From no season in 2020, to team state champions in 2021, to defending its team title and producing an individual champion at this year’s North Dakota Class A state tournament.
An eagle putt on the ninth hole at Fargo’s Rose Creek Golf Course on Wednesday did the trick for Mustangs junior Nate Peyerl, sealing the deal to become Sheyenne’s first individual state golf champion.
Peyerl finished with a two-round total of even-par 142, edging Fargo North senior Landon Olson (145) by three strokes and Fargo Davies senior Gabe Benson (146) by four.
The Mustangs won the team title by six strokes over the Eagles, shooting a 593 to Davies’ 599. Grand Forks Red River was third in team totals with 616.
Peyerl’s eagle putt on the final hole matched that of Olson’s right after his own to eliminate any sort of pressure that may have come down the stretch.
The pair were tied for the lead after Tuesday's first round at 1-under 70. Benson trailed right behind them in third with a 72 and the top 15 were separated by just four strokes.
Peyerl took the lead for good in the final round after Olson made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4. Peyerl made par on both of those holes, and he made bogey just once more in the final five holes to maintain the lead.
In all, Peyerl parred 13 of 18 holes in the final round, made three bogeys, a birdie and the eagle to clinch the tournament.
“I needed to come out here and make pars (today) and I was able to put in some pars,” Peyerl said.
Peyerl said he didn’t even remember when he took the lead and simply focused on his own game while trying to alleviate any nerves.
“I was trying not to think of that in my head,” he said. “I was just trying to play golf. I get nervous in between shots, but once I stand over the ball, I just let it go.”
Perhaps more important to Peyerl is the team aspect. Winning it once last year? Great. Doing it again this year? Even better.
“It feels great to come back out here and do it again,” Peyerl said. “Especially with the new guys. It shows we have depth and we have a future.”
Those thoughts were echoed by Mustangs head coach Dan Wolf.
“It’s been a great ride,” Wolf said of winning the state championship two seasons in a row. “Everybody felt so bad for any kid who lost that season in 2020 and to have won two in a row here has been just kind of beyond almost your wildest dreams.
“We knew last year we had a very talented group with four seniors with a lot of varsity experience and to pull that off was great. Coming back and losing four seniors, we didn’t know. We come in and we’re like … we knew we had talent but until those guys get in pressure situations and a state tournament, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out and these kids bought into our philosophy. They were coachable, they did what we asked them to do and I guess the proof is success is how you finish.”
Wolf called Peyerl’s individual win special for both the team and Peyerl himself.
“What a special thing for Nate,” Wolf said. “Last year’s state tournament — the state team championship was the first. No one can ever take that away from you, and this is something that no one can ever take away from Nate. There’s so many good golfers in the state and for him to accomplish that against really good players was fantastic.”
Wolf said there’s some pressure to win a state championship two years in a row, but not necessarily for high school teams who have constant turnover with new blood coming that is as motivated as those who came before them.
“We talked about it after our practice round that the cliché in sports is that it’s harder to win two in a row,” Wolf said. “It’s such a big mountain, but I said I don’t think that applies when it comes to high school kids because new people come in and they’re hungry. That’s what I thought we had was four kids that were new to the team this year that were hungry, but two kids who appreciated how important that is historically and how great of an accomplishment that was. But all of them are difficult to win because the competition is so good, but it was something that was very sweet to be able to do a second time for sure.”
Sheyenne junior Andrew Wilhelm finished fourth with a two-round total of 6-over 148 while Fargo Shanley senior Jake Skarperud rounded out the top five with a 7-over 149, tied with Fargo Davies' Jayce Johnson.
Skarperud was named the North Dakota Class A Boys Golf Senior Athlete of the Year while Davies head coach Adam Gronaas was named Class A Boys Coach of the Year.
Team scores — final
1. West Fargo Sheyenne 593; 2. Fargo Davies 599; 3. Grand Forks Red River 616; 4. Fargo North 622; 5. Bismarck Century 633; 6. Minot 640; 7. Fargo Shanley 647; 8. Grand Forks Central 648; 9. Dickinson 663; 10. Bismarck Legacy 701; 11. Bismarck St. Mary's 707; 12. Williston 775
Individual top 20 — final
1. Nate Peyerl, West Fargo Sheyenne, 142; 2. Landon Olson, Fargo North, 145; 3. Gabe Benson, Fargo Davies, 146; 4. Andrew Wilhelm, West Fargo Sheyenne, 148; 5. Jake Skarperud, Fargo Shanley, 149; 5. Jayce Johnson, Fargo Davies, 149; 7. Trent Wiemken, Fargo Davies, 150; 7. Skyler Syverson, Grand Forks Red River, 150; 9. Evan Booth, Fargo South, 152; 9. Ben Likness, West Fargo Sheyenne, 152; 11. Aiden Knodel, West Fargo Sheyenne, 153; 11. Cooper Freije, Grand Forks Red River, 153; 13. Cameron Bullinger, Fargo Davies, 154; 13. Zach Skarperud, Fargo Shanley, 154; 13. Carson Shultis, Fargo North, 154; 13. Brandon Riesinger, Grand Forks Red River, 154; 13. Matthew Souther, Bismarck Legacy, 154; 13. Ethan Badolato, Grand Forks Red River, 154; 19. Jack Homiston, Dickinson, 155; 19. Brock Jones, Minot, 155