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Geneva does its best to bring a state-meet feel to Alexandria on Sunday

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Alexandria's Wyatt Cavers lofts his shot onto the green on his first hole at the Midwestern Showcase at the Geneva Golf Club on Sunday. Cavers and his Alexandria teammates were part of nearly 120 boys who took part in the tournament. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Minnesota State High School League’s state golf tournaments were scheduled to be held June 9-10 before the spring season was shut down this year due to the pandemic.

Once that became evident, Alexandria boys golf coach Brady Swedberg, the assistant golf pro at Geneva Golf Club, and Geneva head golf professional Grant Hanson decided to do what they could to replicate that kind of state-tournament atmosphere.

Nearly 120 high-school aged boys and 50 girls were at the Geneva Golf Club on Sunday to play in the Midwestern Showcase. The field included two Alexandria boys teams and one girls team, and the entire field featured many of the players and teams that might have been vying for spots at state during the high school season.

“When the high school season got canceled, we decided to put together basically our own state tournament for them,” Hanson said. “We’ve got a very strong high school team, and they want to compete. We sent out some emails and invitations to some of the best teams in the state and into Fargo, and we got a good, quick response from them. It’s a pretty strong field.”

All players were required to play by the same rules that regulars at the golf club have to play by during the pandemic. Flag sticks had to remain in while putting.

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Groups teed off two holes without a shotgun start to help ensure separation. There were trophies at stake, but the awards ceremony was short and sweet without a big crowd. Players were encouraged to hand in their score card and leave the course if they were not in contention for team or individual titles.

Boraas paces Alexandria girls

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Alexandria's Hannah Boraas watches her putt during Sunday's Midwestern Showcase Golf Tournament at the Geneva Golf Club. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The tournament featured plenty of talented players. Detroit Lakes won the girls’ team title with a four-person score of 338. Recently-graduated Anna Cihak shot a medalist round of 77, and fellow 2020 graduate Shelby Busker was right behind her with a 79.

The Alexandria girls finished second out of eight teams with a 344. Hannah Boraas tied for second individually with a 79 to lead the way.

“My goal was to be low 80s considering the wind,” Boraas said. “My front nine was a 43, and I was just trying to grind back. I shot a 36 on the (back nine), which was really nice. I was happy.”

Players battled temperatures in the low 90s and winds gusting to over 30 miles-per-hour. Boraas said her tee shots set her up well on the front nine before her putting and overall short game got going on the back.

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Alexandria's Ciara O'Connor watches her shot from the fairway during Sunday's tournament at the Geneva Golf Club. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Ciara O’Connor, who had her senior year wiped out this past spring, shot an 85 to finish second for Alexandria. Cora Larson shot an 89, Lauren Rebrovich shot a 91, Aisling O’Connor a 95, and Isabella Hagen a 121 to round out Alexandria’s lineup.

“It was awesome,” Boraas said. “It felt unreal because I’m on the tee box, and I see my teammate right in front of me. It was like, ‘This is a high school meet!’ It was really good to get this in, especially for Ciara O’Connor.”

Sladek finishes second

Players were grateful for this chance to play with their teammates again. For some, it might be the last time a particular group is on the course together.

The top Alexandria boys team had two recently-graduated seniors in the lineup in Joe Bigger and Landyn James. Bigger shot a 79, and James carded a 96.

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Alexandria's Joe Bigger knocks his shot onto the green during his first hole at the Midwestern Showcase on Sunday afternoon. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Cardinals finished fifth out of 19 teams. Soon-to-be senior Grant Rebrovich shot a 79, Ashton Sladek, a seventh-grader this past school year, shot an 89, and 2023 graduate Braeden Sladek led the Cardinals with a 74.

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“Overall, I felt I played pretty solid. I hit a lot of good golf shots,” Braeden said about his round. “The last three holes, I kind of choked a bit. I went double bogey, par. It was tough conditions, and I hit a lot of good shots, but disappointed with the finish.”

Braeden’s 74 was good for second overall. Layton Bartley of Fargo Sheyenne won medalist honors for the boys with a 72. Alexandria’s Carver Larson, a 7th-grader this past school year, led Alexandria’s second team with an 82.

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Alexandria's Braeden Sladek puts his shot from just off the green within a couple feet of the cup during the Midwestern Showcase on Sunday afternoon. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Braeden Sladek said his irons and putting carried him throughout the day. He was mindful of going low into the wind off of the tee box to try to set himself up for par and birdie opportunities as much as possible in such tough weather conditions.

The Sladeks live not far at all from the Geneva Golf Club, so this was an opportunity for Braeden to defend his home course. He’s been out there almost every day working on his game individually without the school season to fall back on.

Sladek will travel around the midwest to get in a lot of tournaments again in the coming months. This was just the start of a big summer for him, but it was a special round after getting to play with this group of Alexandria teammates.

“It was great. I loved it,” Braeden said. “Coming out here and playing with our team. We all got to play and come in with a team score. Seeing all the teams here, it really felt like a high school meet.”

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GIRLS TEAM SCORES - Detroit Lakes - 338; Alexandria - 344; Chanhassen - 346; Minnewaska - 370; Eastview - 370; Lac qui Parle Valley - 378; Eden Prairie - 379; Chaska - 392

ALEXANDRIA - Hannah Boraas - 79; Ciara O’Connor - 85; Cora Larson - 89; Aisling O’Connor - 95; Lauren Rebrovich - 91; Isabella Hagen - 121

MINNEWASKA - Jacqueline Gossen - 85; Annika Stensrud - 89; Greta Reichmann - 93; Berkley Steffen - 103; Paige Rupp - 133

BOYS TEAM SCORES - Lakeville - 312; Eden Prairie - 319; Waconia - 320; Spring Lake Park - 320; Alexandria - 321; Kindred - 324; Fargo Sheyenne - 325; Elk River - 328; St. Thomas Academy - 333; White Bear Lake - 336; Brainerd - 337; Holy Family - 338; Alexandria II - 343; Sartell - 349; Spring Lake Park - 350; Fergus Falls - 359; Minnewaska - 366; White Bear Lake - 368; Community Christian - 379

ALEXANDRIA - Joseph Bigger - 79; Grant Rebrovich - 79; Braeden Sladek - 79; Wyatt Cavers - 97; Landyn James - 96; Ashton Sladek - 89

ALEXANDRIA II - Bennett Olson - 90 - Hunter Brunkow - 86; Peter Sansted - 88; Drew Swedberg - 87; Carver Larson - 82; Andrew Johnson - 88

MINNEWASKA - Cole Harste - 85; Drew Nelson - 101; Mason McGinty - 96; Riley Larson - 85; Hunter Kostelecky - 100

BRAINERD - Cody Evans - 82; Tyler Jordan - 86; Daniel Johnson - 103; Erik Stoxen - 77; Evan Quinn - WD; Cole Proctor - 92

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Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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