Article by Sam Herder, Devils Lake Journal, August 26th, 2016.
Success is a key helping hand when it comes to building a young program. Lake Region State College golf reached a new high last season when two golfers, Kelsey Schlenk and Eric Gullicks, qualified for the NJCAA national tournament for the Royal women and men.
The women's program took a step back this season, with LRSC having to suspend the program due to not having enough players on the team. But on the men's side, the Royals have four golfers from North Dakota high schools looking to compete on the national level.
Sophomores Jon Lund (Tolna) and Casey Julson (Rolette) along with freshmen Bryce Sebelius (Devils Lake) and Austin Kozojed (Hillsboro) form a full team as LRSC is set to compete in four tournaments before regionals, where teams count their top four scores to qualify for nationals.
"It will be an exciting year," Randy Fixen, who is back in the head coaching role after three years, said. "I think this team will compete well as a team. It would be fun to see the whole team make nationals. I think there's potential for two to make it. Casey is motivated to do well this year. Depending on the game they have, I would guess Jon and Bryce are capable of playing to that level. And of course Austin, we're expecting big things from him."
Julson placed sixth at regionals last year, one spot from making the national tournament. Lund returns with experience. Kozojed placed high in the Class B State Tournament last season. And despite Devils Lake cutting its golf program, Sebelius has stuck close to the game.
"I'm excited about (this season)," Fixen said. "These group of men are really good golfers. I'm excited that they're going to do very well."
Fixen coached the program for one season and has seen its growth as he's remained on campus. He is a lifelong golfer, although he admits his game isn't the strongest. He said his role as head coach will be to take care of the mental side of things.
"The head game is the toughest part of the game at this point for them," Fixen said. "They have their basics down, it's just keeping the nerves steady. That first meet we have is usually nerve-wracking."
LRSC begins its season Sunday in Bismarck.