Alexandria girls brush aside cold weather conditions to shoot school record in win at St. Cloud
Hannah Boraas, Cora Larson and Lauren Rebrovich all shot career-bests in the 70s, while sophomore Aisling O'Connor was not far behind with the team's fourth score that all added up to a new school record for the Cardinals in their season opener.
The Alexandria girls golf team will certainly see warmer weather conditions than the Cardinals saw at the Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud for the season opener on April 20, but this group might be hard pressed to see better results after setting the bar really high.
Alexandria looked like a good team on paper coming into the season with five of its top six girls returning from a Central Lakes Conference championship team in 2019. The Cardinals proved that on the course on Tuesday by setting a new school record team score with a 303. That bested Brainerd by 10 strokes, while Fergus Falls was a distant third with a 355.
“Many of the players were able to take advantage of a course playing at a rather short 4,800 yards,” Alexandria head coach Tim Zupfer said. “In fact, at least four of our players had their career-best round in high school competition. The team competition was extremely competitive with Alexandria and Brainerd both shooting very good team scores.”
Brainerd had an early lead in the meet before the Cardinals’ play on the back nine secured their team win. The previous school-record score was a 311 shot by the 2014 team that finished second at the Class AAA state tournament.
“I can sense an increased level of maturity from the players,” Zupfer said. “Two years ago, our team had two in the eighth grade and three in the ninth. They are now sophomores and juniors. They have added distance, and were able to take advantage of a shorter course. Brainerd is scary good, and we will need to continue to work on our games. We have to be able to post good scores on courses 500 yards to 600 yards longer.”
Hannah Boraas, still just a sophomore, looks to be on a trajectory towards being one of the top players in the state. She was on her game early at St. Cloud. Boraas shot a career-best 71 to win medalist honors and pace three Alexandria players in the 70s.
“Hannah played very well,” Zupfer said. “She played the front nine in 2-under par. Her round included four birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys. Nice to start the year with a sub-par round.”
Junior Cora Larson followed with a career-best score of 73 to take second place, and junior Lauren Rebrovich also had a career best with a 77 to finish third.
“Cora played very well,” Zupfer said. “She hit all 18 greens in regulation. Her round included two birdies, 13 pars and three bogeys. She finished strong, with a birdie on the 18th hole. Lauren had one tough hole, which put her 5-over par through her first four holes. She managed to play the remaining 14 holes in even par.”
Sophomore Aisling O’Connor finished off the team scoring with an 82 to finish eighth overall. O’Connor had no score higher than a bogey on the day.
Seventh-grader Ellie Sticha shot a career-best 90 to finish 16th individually in her first-ever varsity meet. Her round included two birdies, and junior Isabella Hagen rounded out the lineup with a 102 in 28th place. Hagen also had a birdie in her round.
“As a team, we had 10 birdies,” Zuper said. “That gives us a good goal to try to beat.”
Alexandria is filled with athletes who have played a lot of golf in the last 23 months despite not having a Minnesota State High School League season in 2020. Zupfer said many of them participated in summer tournaments the past two years, as well as fall and winter tournaments. Golf means a lot to these players, and it showed in the season opener.
“Many of the girls are taking individual lessons throughout the year with swing coaches,” Zupfer said. “On top of that, they are also taking advantage of opportunities to practice indoors throughout the entire year. The Scott Dirck Academy is one of the facilities our players take advantage of throughout the year. Good scoring starts with the golf swing, and I could tell in practice that we were really striking the ball well. We have worked hard on the short game already this spring. We have shortened some practices when the weather was cold. However, we have bundled up and put the work in. Our players, and most from the other conference teams, embraced the cold weather. They were all thrilled to be on the course competing together again.”
The Cardinals now have a few days of practice before a three-meet week. Alexandria is at Willmar on April 26 before a home meet at the Alexandria Golf Club on April 28 and another one at the Geneva Golf Club on May 1.
TEAM SCORES - Alexandria - 303; Brainerd - 313; Fergus Falls - 355; Sartell - 378; Willmar - 394; Bemidji - 410; St. Cloud Tech/Apollo - 426; Rocori - 466
ALEXANDRIA SCORING - Hannah Boraas - 34, 37 - 71; Cora Larson - 38, 35 - 73; Lauren Rebrovich - 41, 36 - 77; Aisling O’Connor - 40, 42 - 82; Ellie Sticha - 45, 45 - 90; Isabella Hagen - 50, 52 - 102
The Alexandria girls golf preview story that ran online and in the April 16 print edition of the Echo Press originally incorrectly stated that the Cardinals’ Hannah Boraas won the Women’s Division at the 2020 Resorters Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club.
Ale Heinen of Wichita, Kansas actually won that Women’s Division, while Boraas won the Junior 13-15 Division match-play tournament with a dominant run through a field of predominantly boys her age that included a 6-5 win in the championship.