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Golf: Alexandria College finishes fall season strong

The Alexandria College Legends will be well-represented at the NJCAA DII Championship in the spring.

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The Alexandria College men's golf team hold up its second place plaque that they took home from the NJCAA DII Region IV Championship on Oct. 8, 2022.
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The Alexandria College men's and women's golf teams had a successful fall season and will have a strong contingent at the NJCAA DII National Championship in the spring.

The Legends men’s golf team finished second at the Region IV tournament on Oct. 6-8 in Byron, Illinois, at Prairie View Golf Club and are headed to nationals from May 23-26 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Indiana.

The Legends (938) finished two strokes behind Highland Community College (936), who won the 12-team meet.

“From year two to year three we went from having three recruited players to having nine recruited players," Alexandria head coach Scott Dirck said. “Our non-recruited golfers played great, we missed nationals by five strokes last year, and this year we missed winning regions by two strokes. The toughest thing that a junior college golf program has to deal with is that most of the team is 18-19 years old. There are no seniors or older athletes to be leaders to the younger freshman. We are playing courses that are 7,000 yards with a fall and a spring season battling weather in both. They are getting used to the longer yardages and how to deal with the extreme elements.”

Lukas Justesen, who is from Detroit Lakes, led the way for the Legends and placed tied for fifth with a three-day total of 232.

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Connor Josephson, who is from Redwood Falls, and Gannon Walsh, who from Belgrade, finished with all-region honors (top 15 placement) with a 10th-place finish (236) and an 11th-place finish, respectively.

Josephson made nationals as an individual last spring and is excited that the team gets to go this coming spring.

"It was very exciting to qualify for nationals as a team," Josephson said in a press release dated Oct. 13.

Hank Sogge, an Eagan native, had 242 strokes over the three days and just missed a top-15 finish by two strokes, while teammate Jayme French, a Fargo native, was right there as well finishing with 245 strokes.

Dirck is happy with the team chemistry this group has built.

“More importantly than their golf game, they have created a great experience here by becoming a great group of friends as a team,” he said. “We have three sophomores this year that all played last season and have been great leaders for the younger kids.”

Hamman headed back to nationals

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Alexandria College's Abby Hamman putts during the NJCAA DII Region IV Championship. Hamman won the meet, which was held on Oct. 3 and 4 at Heritage Oaks Golf Club in Northbrook, Illinois. By winning the championship, Hamman qualified once against for the NJCAA DII National Championship in the spring.
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On the women's side, Abby Hamman, a Slayton native has qualified for the championship in the spring once again.

“Abby has been a leader on our team for two years the strongest part of her game is driving the golf ball but she is a well-rounded player in general,” Dirck said.

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She qualified for the national championship with a first place finish (163) at the Region IV Tournament on Oct. 3-4 at Heritage Oaks Golf Club in Northbrook, Illinois.

"I am so proud of Abby for winning the tournament and getting the opportunity to head back to the national tournament for her final season as a Legend," assistant coach Lauren Stockmoe said in the press release on Oct. 13. "All her hard work paid off, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this achievement than her. She knows that she has some work to do, but is eager to get back to the grind and really work on her swing during this offseason before spring golf starts back up."

Hamman earned the medalist honor by winning the individual title and was named to the all-region team.

The Legends finished second (944) as a team in the tournament, behind Carl Sandburg College (756).

"It was a fun tournament having a full team there," Hamman said. "I wasn't hitting it great off the tee, but going into the tournament, I was working on my irons, and that really showed. The course was a fun one to play, and I'm super excited to have the opportunity to go back to nationals."

This season was the first that the women’s golf program has had enough players to have a fully countable team score and the coaches are excited about the growth of the program.

Morgan Schwinghammer, a Belgrade native, Emily Dauw, a Sartell native, and Abbie Perry, a Belle Plaine native, all competed in the tournament for the Legends. Schwinghammer finished with a total of 220, Dauw finished with a score of 275 and Perry had a score of 286.

"I am very proud of the team as this was some of the girls' first time playing in a championship setting," Stockmoe said. "Everyone kept a positive attitude and finished strong in this tournament."

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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