The Northfield boys golf team narrowly missed a chance to stake an early claim as the best team in the Big 9 Conference on Thursday at Owatonna Country Club, where the Raiders fired a team scored of 316.
Mankato West escaped with the midseason championship with a team score of 314.
Northfield was helped by a 71 from Nate Stevens, a 74 from Haakon Rustad, an 80 from Jeb Sawyer and a 90 from Grant Boardman. Stevens' score was second best in the 72-golfer field, while Rustad finished fourth and Sawyer fifth individually.
The Raiders play again Friday and Saturday in an invitational at Edinburgh USA Golf Course. The second day of the Big 9 tournament is scheduled for May 25 at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester.