Girls golf: Osakis gaining confidence as sections loom
The Osakis girls golf team is peaking at the right time of the season as the Silverstreaks wrapped up their conference schedule on Friday.
Central Minnesota Conference teams played in Osakis in the morning before going to the Prairie View Golf Course for Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s home meet. The Silverstreaks finished first on their home course with a 192. That bested the Jaguars by one stroke before Osakis shot a 179 to beat BBE’s 180 in the afternoon.
The Jaguars won the CMC title with 1,270 total strokes in the seven meets. Osakis got off to a slow start to the season and finished second at 1,295. The Silverstreaks finished strong, beating BBE in the final three league meets.
“I think we’ve all just kind of motivated each other this year,” Osakis junior Alayna Eldred said. “We have a really good group of girls. We’re all really close, and it’s been really fun. I think the fun aspect of it has just helped everybody to play a lot better.”
Eldred swept medalist honors throughout the conference season by shooting 39 and 38 on Friday. She was a little disappointed with how she struck the ball on her home course, specifically with her driver after going out of bounds on hole eight.
“Just kind of all over the place today and scrambling a lot,” Eldred said. “I didn’t hit many greens, and just tried to get up and down for par.”
Eldred is her own biggest critic when it come to her golf game. She knows she has to be at her best if she wants to accomplish her ultimate goal of winning a Class AA state title this season.
“Other than today, I’m feeling really confident with everything,” Eldred said. “Golf is a game of peaks and valleys. Today was just one of those valleys, but I’m hoping to peak at the right time. Peak at state so I have a chance at that state title.”
Eldred and her teammates believe this whole team could come out of the Section 6AA field after they won the pre-section meet at Blackberry Ridge on May 8. Rocori, Kimball-Eden Valley-Watkins and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Browerville were missing from the field that day as Osakis won with a 383. An 81 from Eldred and a career-best 91 from freshman Lexi Dirkes led the way.
“I just took it one shot at a time (that day) and made sure that I played smart and knew where I was at all times,” Dirkes said. “I knew my yardages so I could hit greens and shoot well.”
Dirkes is growing into her role in the number two spot in this lineup. She played near the top of this lineup last spring and feels even more at ease with her game and what it means to have to be a consistent scorer for Osakis.
Dirkes finished the conference season with the second lowest scoring average behind Eldred. Dirkes’ 43 just edged Jaden Gossen (43.3) of BBE, while Eldred led the league at 36.2.
“I feel more confident golfing number two this year,” Dirkes said. “I have experience, but it also helps when I know I can shoot well and can stay consistent. I’m just kind of keeping my mind set on a positive note.”
The Silverstreaks don’t have a senior in their lineup. Marissa Reilly joins Dirkes as a freshman, while Kiara Hensley is a junior, and Kadyn Triebenbach and Jayden Hensley are eighth graders.
Dirkes shot a 42 in Osakis on Friday and a 45 at BBE. Triebenbach carded a 46 in the afternoon, while Kiara Hensley rounded out the scoring with a 50. Kiara also shot a 54 in the morning, while Triebenbach finished off the scoring in Osakis with a 57.
“I think we are more comfortable as long as everyone stays healthy,” Dirkes said of the growth for this team throughout the year. “We all know what we’re capable of. If we can push each other to do good, then that will push us more to know we have this in us. We have to take it one shot at a time and keep going.”
Eldred says that will be the focus as this team heads to the Section 6AA meet June 5-6.
Winning pre-sections was a nice boost, but she knows it doesn’t mean anything if the Silverstreaks don’t put two good days together again.
“We’re definitely going to think it’s winnable,” Eldred said. “We kind of don’t want to go in thinking that we got this. We want to go in thinking we have to chase. We have to play well and still have to shoot a good score. Then we have to do that two days in a row.”
TEAM RESULTS - Osakis - 179; BBE - 180; Paynesville - 200; Pierz - 202; Howard Lake-Waverly - 227; Eden Valley-Watkins-Kimball - 266
OSAKIS - Alayna Eldred - 38; Lexi Dirkes - 46; Kadyn Triebenbach - 46; Kiara Hensley - 50; Jayden Hensley - 68; Marissa Reilly - 69
TEAM SCORES - Osakis - 192; BBE - 193; Pierz - 198; Paynesville - 221; HL-W - 239; EVW-Kimball - 292
OSAKIS - Eldred - 39; Dirkes - 42; K. Hensley - 54; Triebenbach - 57; J. Hensley - 65; Reilly - 73