Boys golf: Sladek, Cards have record-setting day
It’s asking a lot to expect a team to set any kind of school or conference record in a sport, but surprising is not the word Alexandria boys golf coach Brady Swedberg would use to describe an incredible day for his guys on Monday.
The Cardinals tied for second at state a year ago and returned five of the six players from that group, so their potential to go really low was always there. Monday at the Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls, Alexandria put it all together to shoot a 3-under par team score of 285.
“I knew I had a bunch of guys playing well, so I was not overly surprised that they shot a really good number, but 285 is really low,” Swedberg said. “Right away, I was just wondering if that was a conference or Alexandria record. I didn’t think I had ever coached a team the last two years that had shot under par, and I don’t remember hearing about any teams shooting under par, so that was the first thing that crossed my mind.”
Swedberg does not have all the past team scores at his disposal, but he did talk with former longtime Alexandria head coach Rick Larson to see if he ever remembered a team going that low. Swedberg is pretty confident that the 285 is both an Alexandria and Central Lakes Conference meet record for the boys.
“There’s a good chance it’s two records, but I don’t have all those record books,” he said.
One record that was broken was the CLC individual mark on Monday, and it came from Alexandria’s talented eighth-grader. Braeden Sladek took the section by storm last season by winning the individual 8AAA championship. On Monday, he shot a varsity career-best 5-under 67.
“It was just a matter of time,” Swedberg said. “He’s shot under par probably three times this year already, and you just kind of knew eventually he was going to make a few extra putts and shoot in the 60s. That’s what it was yesterday. It was nothing he doesn't do on a regular basis. He hits fairways and greens. He just made a few more putts than he typically makes. It’s just crazy that an eighth-grader shot 5-under and it wasn’t all that surprising.”
Ideal weather conditions made it a good day for scoring on Monday. Brainerd was good too with a team score of 299, while Sartell-St. Stephen shot a 306.
That couldn’t match the depth of the Cardinals. Senior Hunter Rebrovich and his brother, sophomore Grant Rebrovich, both shot even-par 72s. Senior Noah Boraas shot a 74 to round out the scoring for the team. Joe Bigger and Elliot Amundson were on their game too, and didn’t even get to use their scores of 76 and 78, respectively.
“It was just a matter of time that both Rebroviches were going to start playing to their potential,” Swedberg said. “When those two are playing well and shooting scores around even par, and then Noah is just solid all the time. His scores don’t fluctuate a whole lot. He lives right around even or a couple over.
“You got Braeden playing well and then Bigger throwing in an uncounted 76 and the sixth man, Elliot, shooting a 78. It’s just really nice to have that depth and to know that any given day, any of these guys can shoot a low number. A 285 is incredibly low, but I wouldn’t say it’s surprising. That’s just where their potential and upside is at.”
The Cardinals are gaining confidence at the right time. They have one regular-season meet left as they look to put the finishing touches on a CLC title at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 20 with a 4 p.m. start time. From there, it’s on to the Section 8AAA meet at the Headwaters Golf Course in Park Rapids on May 29 and 30.
“We’ll just keep working on short game and then probably the biggest thing is just when you’re out there in the heat of the battle, if something doesn’t go your way is to just breathe and try to commit to that next golf shot,” Swedberg said. “That’s probably the biggest message right now is just managing emotions as we get ready to head into sections.”