Teeing off the reigning champs 

Minnesota State’s annual Maverick Invitational will tee off the 2023-24 season Monday at the Faribault Golf Club. 

Last year, this par-72 course favored Mankato heavily as seven of the top 10 individual finishers were Mavericks. The Mavs also dominated through both rounds of the tournament as they shot +11 with a team total of 587 strokes. Runner up University of Jamestown shot +29, summing up their total to 605 strokes. 

The only other team in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference that participated was Minot State University. They finished in last place at the invitational and will return Monday. 

“We will lean on a solid group of returning upperclassmen and some strong incoming freshmen,” said Minnesota State Director of Golf and Head Coach, Alex Schmitz in a press release posted MSU Athletics website.  “As a team we’ll look to find success in scoring in all areas of the game. Our roster brings back plenty of distance off the tee and we need to capitalize on and around the greens.”

Six of the seven top finishers for MSU will returning to the invitational this year. Along with that, a trio of them were named to NSIC All-Conference teams. Ben Laffen was named to First-Team All-NSIC while Jack Klimek and Marcus Belka were named to Second-Team All-NSIC

Through 24 rounds last year, Laffen finished in the top-five twice, top-10 four times and the top-20 eight times. He also finished 17th in the NSIC Championship. 

Klimek led all Mavericks at the NSIC Championship with his second place finish as he shot an exceptional +3 through three rounds. Klimek was named to Academic All-District Team with a 3.56 GPA and NSIC All-Tournament Team for his efforts at the championship match. 

Lastly, Belka highlighted his season by finishing third on the team in scoring. He finished in the top-five twice along with the top-ten. 

The golf season is split into two separate seasons, fall and spring. Following the Maverick Invitational, the team will compete in five more tournaments before the fall season is concluded. They will then pick up where they left off in the spring to prepare for the NSIC Championship.

Header photo: Minnesota State was one of two NSIC teams to participate at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament. (File photo)

Write to Luke Jackson at

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