While golf is already a difficult sport to play, in northern Minnesota, it's no easier.
With student-athletes already battling against our region's often inclement weather - causing plenty of postponements and cancellations throughout April and May - then there's school to balance, creating quite the juggling act for most.
Then there's Jonathon Danelski and Adam Neumann, who aren't like most.
That's because along with their prep golf schedules at Moose Lake-Willow River, Danelski also runs track and field and Neumann adds baseball to his plate.
Playing dual sports at the same time does happen, yet not as often as one would like to believe. It's not very common, and even more rare come springtime with everything that teenagers have to weigh.
Still, that hasn't slowed this pair of busy Rebels, who do most everything for their cooperative communities come spring.
"It's a lot of work, but it's the best for both programs and the best for them to stay active and do the things they like to do," said MLWR golf coach Brad Hubred, now in his fourth season. "They've got their foot in the dirt in just about everything."
That's not surprising, as Hubred did the same for the Rebels, with the former 1998 Moose Lake graduate playing golf and throwing the shotput and discus. He now teaches science in Moose Lake.
So, prior to this season, in the hopes of working something out, Hubred approached MLWR track coach Tony Andres, also the Moose Lake Activities Director, about a game plan for each student to balance both activities.
Agreements were made, the seasons began and things have been nothing short of successful. Specific track meets and baseball games take precedent and Hubred said the boys are allowed to choose the remaining of their chaotic schedules. If a rest is needed, coaches are more than accommodating.
"All the coaches work together to let the kids experience both sports and help both programs," said Hubred. "It's a win-win."
Danelski, a freshman at Moose Lake, along with his track duties, is Hubred's top golfer he noted.
"I haven't seen him run, but he's really good at getting through on a golf ball," said Hubred. "He's really good with his body movements."
Meanwhile, Neumann, a seventh-grader at Willow River, carded just 92 strokes on 18 holes recently in Hinckley, just barely missing Great River All-Conference honors.
"He's beating sophomores, juniors and seniors," said Hubred. "As a seventh-grader, that's a pretty impressive feat."
Adam's older sister, Ellie Neumann, also plays on the MLWR girls' team, as the Willow River sophomore is now in her fourth season on the team. Fellow sophomore Emily Bohnsack, of Moose Lake, is also in her third year with the program.
Both teams finished GRC play Tuesday, May 14, on a warm day in Rush City. Neighboring Barnum was also in attendance. Next up is the Cloquet Invitational at the Cloquet Country Club on May 22, followed by Section 7AA play at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, beginning May 28 and 29.
Of his 25 total golfers, Hubred will bring his four noted above to sections, including his busiest pair of boys, who instead of track spikes and baseball bats, will be donning their clubs later this month.
Then, it's back to their other sports' postseasons.
"It's not easy," said Hubred of his firsthand experience with the juggling act. "But they like competing and that's the kind of kids you want."
Barnum's Calverley seeking state repeat
Wanting to return to the state's pinnacle is Barnum's Brandon Calverley, the Bombers' lone senior who competed in the Class A state meet last June in Becker, Minn.
"He's got the game to do it," said Barnum coach Brent Donaldson, now in his eighth season, third as head coach. "I'm hoping he can earn his way back there."
That could certainly be the case, as Calverley was just awarded All-GRC honors for a third consecutive season. He joined Barnum sophomore Isaac Konu on the All-Conference boys' squad.
Juniors Dawson Collelo, Owen Clampitt, sophomore Reese Godbout and eighth-grader Ryan Manahan are also all back for the Bombers, who enter Section 7A play in Virginia over May 22 and 23.
On the girls' end, sophomore Delaney Koecher and sister-act in sophomore Madelyn and eighth-grader Bryanna Jepsen all earned All-GRC status, while junior Maddie Manahan - Ryan's older sister - is also back for Barnum.
With five All-Conference picks of their 20 total golfers - or 25-percent of the small-school program - Donaldson and his Bombers are feeling good entering sections. While he highlighted Calverley as a state contender on the boys' end, his girls are in the title hunt, he noted.
"If we trim a few strokes off each player, we could make it interesting," Donaldson said. "We've had a good year.
"Now we're just hoping for some nice weather for the kids," he continued. "Where we can wear shorts and polos, not sweatshirts and jackets."