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The Alexandria girls' golf team, Section 8AAA champions, finished seventh overall at the State Class AAA tournament last week. Cardinal Natalie Amundson led the team with a 29th place finish. Team members include (left to right) Shelby Iverson, Amanda Bigger, Caroline Roers, Emily Thul, Brynn Novotny and Amundson. (Contributed photo)

Cardinal girls' golf: Alexandria seventh at state

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The Alexandria girls' golf team took a young team to the state tournament last week and came back with a seventh-place finish and something to build on going into the off-season.

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The Cardinals were in fifth place after shooting a 354 on day one before a 358 in the final round dropped them to seventh. Their 712 team score was 51 shots off the winning score of 661 from New Prague.

The trip to state was a new experience for three of the Cardinals six golfers. Natalie Amundson is one of those new to the state scene but she handled it well, shooting a two-day score of 173 to finish 29th overall.

"The future looks bright for the team," head coach Tim Zupfer said. "We only lose one senior to graduation. We say goodbye to Caroline Roers and wish her well as she travels to Marquette University next year. Caroline was a great senior leader for this team and played on three state tournament teams the past four years she has played on the varsity golf team."

Roers went out as Alexandria's fifth-leading scorer at state. She finished 78th overall after following up a 98 on day one with a 95 on day two.

"She was disappointed that she did not score better in this event," Zupfer said. "However, her play the second day of the section tournament was a big reason that she and her teammates had the opportunity to enjoy the experience."

Amundson capped off a breakout freshman season with a nice showing at Bunker Hills. She came out with an 85 on day one and shot 43, 45 on day two. Amundson improved her stroke average by 10 shots from her 8th grade season, setting up what should be just the beginning of a good career for the Cardinals.

"She is a very steady player that makes very few mistakes when she plays," Zupfer said. "As she continues to get stronger, she will continue to improve her play to an even higher level."

Amanda Bigger, Emily Thul, Brynn Novotny and Shelby Iverson will also be back with plenty of experience next season. Thul played in Alexandria's top spot at the state tournament after shooting well at sections. She battled all the added attention that comes with that top spot to shoot a two-day score of 175, good for 37th place individually.

"She had the opportunity to play head-to-head with the very best players in the state," Zupfer said. "This was a little intimidating as the TV cameras and bigger galleries were following her group. She handled herself well and gained confidence knowing that she can strike the ball with the best."

Bigger came back from an 88 on day one to shoot her team's lowest score in the second round with an 86. Her 174 was good for 33rd overall.

"She has four years of varsity experience already but is only a sophomore," Zupfer said. "She has been one of our leading scorers all season, and with continued improvement, will be a top contender in the state."

Novotny will also come back with plenty of experience and hopefully better health next season. She battled injuries over the past month and shot a 190 to finish 69th at the state meet.

"With limited practice time, she was able to play well enough to help the team achieve the goal of participating in the state tournament," Zupfer said. "With her healthy next spring, we look for exciting things from her."

Iverson rounded out the Cardinal scorers at state with a two-day 202. She shot a 99 on day two after carding a 103 in the opening round.

"She is a great competitor and made the varsity team after just taking up the game competitively for the first time this spring," Zupfer said. "Look for her to show even more improved play next year as a senior."

CLASS AAA STATE GIRLS' GOLF MEET

TEAM RESULTS - 1. New Prague - 661; 2. Stillwater - 669; 3. Wayzata - 670; 4. Red Wing - 673; 5. Eastview - 693; 6. Elk River - 701; 7. Alexandria - 712; 8. Blaine - 722

ALEXANDRIA SCORES - Amundson - 29th place, 41, 44 - 84; 43, 45 - 88, 173; Bigger - 33rd place, 42, 46 - 88; 42, 44 - 86; 174; Thul - 37th place, 40, 44 - 84; 43, 48 - 91; 175; Novotny - 69th place, 49, 48 - 97; 45, 48 - 93; 190; Roers - 78th place, 49, 49 - 98; 47, 48 - 95; 193; Iverson - 85th place, 52, 51 - 103; 50, 49 - 99; 202

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