Wolfpack Golf in the Hunt Again

By Beacon Staff

While three-time defending champion Billings West is still the team to beat this year in Class AA boys golf, the Glacier Wolfpack are proving once again they are contenders for the state title, even without two-time defending champion Larry Iverson III.

Two years ago, in the first of year of the golf program, Glacier tied Billings West for the state championship. Both teams shot a 622. Then last fall, Glacier came in second to West by a mere three strokes, shooting a 598. In each of those years, Iverson took home the individual title for the Wolfpack, winning by a combined 13 strokes.

Now with Iverson gone, senior Grahm Schmaltz has taken over the role of top dog on the team. Schmaltz has started the year with two second-place finishes, at the Great Falls Invitational to kick off the season and then at the Whitefish-Kalispell Invitational, which Glacier won. The Wolfpack finished second at the Great Falls tourney, with West winning by 22 strokes. West’s 580 was an all-time record.

The Great Falls Invitational was an early glimpse at how Class AA might shake out this year. All 14 Class AA teams attended the event, as well as Class A Whitefish. While Glacier finished considerably behind West, the Wolfpack were comfortably in second place, eight strokes ahead of Billings Senior and 21 strokes ahead of Bozeman.

Schmaltz has established himself as a contender for the state title, though he has quite a bit of ground to make up on Billings West’s Jake Hedge, who finished third at state last year and fourth the year before. At the Great Falls Invitational, Hedge shot a tournament-record 132, posting a 68 in the first round and an amazing 64 in the second. He finished ahead of Schmaltz and teammate Brandon McIvor by 11 strokes.

Justin Newton and Logan Iverson have also emerged as threats to win an invitational or two this year. In Great Falls, Newton shot a 148 to tie for sixth place. Iverson was close behind with a 151, just a stroke higher than the 150 he shot at the Whitefish-Kalispell Invitational. Trey Griffith and Ryan Porch round out the boys team.

The girls have quietly been building a strong golf program as well at Glacier, placing sixth place at state two years ago and fifth last year. While C.M. Russell appears to be a good distance ahead of the rest of the field, Glacier is positioned for another top-five performance in Class AA this fall.

At the Great Falls tourney, Glacier shot a 756, good enough for fourth place but well behind first-place C.M. Russell at 675. The Wolfpack’s top two finishers were Karli Aurich and Elsie Satterfield, each posting a 183. Andrea Spicher was close behind at 186. At the Whitefish-Kalispell Invitational, Satterfield shot a team-best 185.

The Wolfpack finished with a 751 at last year’s Class AA state tournament, a 43-shot improvement from their 2007 performance at state. In each tournament, Aurich, who is a senior this year, was Glacier’s top performer. Two years ago she posted a 169 to finish fifth, while last year her 162 was enough for sixth place.

Next up for both the boys and girls is an invitational in Missoula this weekend on Sept. 18 and 19.

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