NEW ULM - In a sense, it was a disappointing ending to a season that had so much promise for New Ulm's Kelton Schmitz.
Schmitz, who had qualified for the Class AA state boys golf meet as a freshman for the Eagles, helped his team enjoy unprecedented success this past year as they won the South Central Conference team title and eventually the Section 2AA title to advance to their first ever state tournament.
But Schmitz didn't get to participate at the state meet as he broke his wrist prior to the tournament. He watched from the sidelines as the Eagles finished eighth.
There's no doubt Schmitz was a big reason why the Eagles qualified for state. He averaged a 79 over 18 holes and the junior gets another chance next year to qualify either as an individual or as part of the Eagles' team.
Schmitz was named the 2013 All-Journal Boys Golfer of the Year after his season. He was by far the most consistent golfer for the Eagles on a team that had plenty of depth.
"It was a great year, I had my ups and downs, but it had a tragic ending to the year," he said. "At least I had a great team to back me up and it showed us we had depth. We tried our best and we did our best at state and we're looking for a better year next year."
Instead of competing with his teammates at the state meet, Schmitz walked alongside many of them as they competed. Although he was part of the team, it felt like something was missing.
"It was great, I'm sure a lot of people didn't know I was on the team, so that was kind of a buzz kill," Schmitz said. "It kind of stunk because I couldn't talk to the players but it was fun to watch."
The Eagles finished eighth at state. But they weren't disappointed by that at all considering they were missing one of their top golfers and were a relatively young team.
"The competition at state was really, really good," Schmitz said. "It was a great experience for them."
That better year will have to come in Section 3AA, where the Marshall Tigers won the section. Like the Eagles, the Tigers bring back a lot of their squad next year, so it will no doubt be tough to get out of the section for New?Ulm. But Schmitz is looking forward to the competition.
"It's going to be great," Schmitz said. "Our teams are like best friends, we get along so well, every single one of us. It'll great year next year."