Gusso wins title in final season

Basically every athlete and coach wishes they could play forever, but nobody can and so when the time comes, the next best thing is to leave the arena as a champion.

That's exactly what Belle Fourche head golf coach Clark Gusso did as his Lady Broncs captured their first state title in his 17th and final season at the helm.

A state title was far from a sure thing for the Broncs as they battled with perennial power Sioux Falls Christian throughout the two-day event at Rocky Run Golf Course in Dell Rapids back on June 4th and 5th.

But misfortune for Charger No. 1 and defending state champion Kate Wynja meant good things for the Broncs as the Sioux Falls Christian standout was disqualified after voluntarily bringing her erroneous scorecard to meet officials' attention, moving Belle Fourche into the top spot as a team and sending runner-up Payson Birkeland, who probably never even would have picked up a club without Gusso's influence, to the top of the medal stand.

Gusso said, "Well it's kind of surrealistic. This last month the girls played incredibly well, conference champion, region, state and we thought we had a chance for second place at that time ... so yeah it's kind of surrealistic."

Birkeland said, "He's the one who got me into golf. I never played in my seventh grade year and going into my eight-grade year he told me I needed to play golf. So I decided that I needed to play golf and picked up the clubs. He's pretty much the one who got me into it and he helped me more than anybody."

The Broncs previous best finish was second in 2004 ... but with Birkeland and Black Hills Conference champion Jade Burr leading the way, Gusso gets to retire with a state championship.