The first half of the North Star Athletic Association conference golf tournament is in the books after teams played 36 holes this week in Albert Lea, Minn.
Bellevue University leads both the men's and women's tournament after 36 holes at Wedgwood Cove Golf Course. The VCSU men are currently in third place out of six teams, while the Viking women are fifth place out of seven teams.
NSAA teams will play the final 36 holes of the conference tournament during the spring. Combined, the 72-hole scores will determine the conference's representatives for the NAIA national meet.
On the men's side, Bellevue created some separation from the field on Tuesday with a round of 299, which was the only team round under 300. The Bruins have a 607 total through two rounds, building a lead of 17 shots on the University of Jamestown and a 24-shot lead over third-place VCSU.
Individually on the men's side, four players are within one shot of the lead, setting up an exciting spring tournament. VCSU's Kyle Wiebe and Bellevue's Fernando Arzate are currently tied for first with a 5-over par 149 total, while Juan Gomez and Diego Gudino of Bellevue are just one shot back at 150.
VCSU's Tyler Baukol followed up his 78 from Monday with a 77 on Tuesday. He is currently tied for sixth with an 11-over par total of 155. Cameron Rall shot 80-80 in his two rounds and is tied for 13th. Jared Lentz is tied for 18th after shooting an 82 and an 84. Jeremie Pasitney went 85-88 and is tied for 24th.
The Viking women are in fifth place out of seven teams after 36 holes. VCSU shaved six shots off Monday as the Viking women shot a 403 on Monday and a 397 on Tuesday. VCSU is ahead of Dickinson State and Presentation College.
Individually, Nicole Heinitz is tied for 13th to lead the Viking women. She shot an 89 on Monday and an 88 on Tuesday for a 177 total. Haley Christofferson (100-92) is tied for 20th after improving by eight shots in round two. Mikayla Smith (101-106) is in 25th, while Megan McNamee and Hannah Gress are 29th and 30th, respectively.
Up next: The Viking golf teams are off until the spring schedule begins in late March.