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Emily Thul led her team to the State Class AAA girls' golf meet this week after the team captured the Section 8AAA championship. The Cardinals finished seventh last year. The second round of play begins today, Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Larry Novotny)

State golf tournament finals

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Cardinals Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

The Cardinal boys' and girls' golf teams opened state tournament action in Class AAA yesterday, Tuesday, while the Minnewaska girls' team and one individual from Osakis are competing in Class AA as action continues today, Wednesday.

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CLASS AAA

After a seventh place finish last year, the Cardinal girls would like to move up in the standings, but have a field littered with veteran experience to contend with.

Five teams from the 2012 field returned, including defending champion New Prague, which has four of its six players from last year back on the roster.

Stillwater, runner-up; Red Wing, fourth; and Blaine, eighth; are all back again.

Five of last year's top 10 individuals are back as well, including Celia Kuenster of Cretin-Derham Hall of St. Paul, the two-time defending champion in Class AAA.

Also back are Kenzie Neisen, New Prague; runner-up; Alex Schmidt, Shakopee, fifth; Lexi Bollant, Buffalo, ninth; and Sierra Langlie, Andover, tied for 10th.

Only one team returns in the boys' division - Forest Lake, last year's sixth place finisher.

Individually, Freddy Thomas, Lakeville North, is the highest returning individual qualifier after finishing third last year. Also back from the top 10 are Matt Rachey, Waconia, tied for fourth; and Max Kelly, Forest Lake, tied for 10th.

CLASS AA

Minnewaska, which holds the state record for the number of consecutive state titles at five, will face their top competitor in two-time defending champion, Detroit Lakes, as the Class AA tournament gets underway.

Minnewaska was runner-up to the Lakers last year; and will also have Providence Academy of Plymouth, fourth, and Fairmont, eighth, in the field.

13-year-old Alyna Eldred of Osakis will be making her first trip to the state tournament after qualifying.

Ninth-grader Kate Smith of Detroit Lakes hopes to defend her crown this year, and several other top 10 finishers will be back looking to unseat her, including Trisa Hutchinson, Detroit Lakes, fourth; Emily Israelson, Staples-Motley, fifth; Anni Heck, Visitation, sixth; Marja Sorenson, Rocori, ninth; and Matty Tschider, Detroit Lakes; Alexis Guggisberg, Minnewaska; and Jenna Janu, Minnewaska; who tied for 10th.

The 2013 State Golf Tournament is scheduled for June 11-12. The Class AA tournament will be played at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The Class AAA golfers will compete at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.

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