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Girls golf: Young Cards second at AGC, Lakers try to start a new streak

Alexandria freshman Cora Larson hits a short shot from just off the No. 3 green at the Alexandria Golf Club on Wednesday. Larson led the Cardinals with an 80 at the meet as Alexandria finished second. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 11
Alexandria junior Ciara O'Connor lines up her putt on the third green at the Alexandria Golf Club on Wednesday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 11
Alexandria's Hannah Boraas follows through on her drive off of the fourth tee box at AGC on Wednesday morning. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 11
Alexandria's Aisling O'Connor watches her putt on the third green during the Cardinals' home invite at AGC on Wednesday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)4 / 11
Alexandria freshman Lauren Rebrovich holds her follow through on a putt at AGC on Wednesday morning. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)5 / 11
Alexandria's Isabella Hagen hits a shot from the fairway during Wednesday's home meet for the Cardinals at AGC. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)6 / 11
Osakis junior Lexi Dirkes watches her shot onto the No. 3 green at the Alexandria Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon. Dirkes led Osakis with a round of 86. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)7 / 11
Osakis' Kadyn Triebenbach hits a shot from just off the green during Wednesday's meet at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)8 / 11
Minnewaska senior Madi McGinty watches her high chip shot from near the green on No. 3 at the Alexandria Golf Club on Wednesday. McGinty shot an 83 to lead the Lakers to a third-place finish at the meet. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)9 / 11
Minnewaska-BBE's Annika Stensrud lines up her putt during Wednesday's meet at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)10 / 11
Minnewaska's Emily Harste watches her putt during Wednesday's meet at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)11 / 11

The first home meet hosted at the Alexandria Golf Club early in the spring has been played under some miserable conditions in year’s past.

There have been occasions where the Cardinals, as the host school, had to halt things mid-round due to freezing temperatures, but there were no such problems on Wednesday for the Alexandria girls’ home opener. A total of 12 teams played under sun and 70 degrees at AGC, and it led to some good scores.

Red Wing’s Leah Herzog shot a 5-under par 68 and teammate Sophia Yoeman carded a 69 to lead the Wingers to a first-place 314 as a team. Right behind them was Alexandria as the Cardinals shot a team score of 336 to finish second.

“I knew Red Wing could post a number we probably couldn’t touch,” Alexandria coach Tim Zupfer said. “This is our second time playing Minnewaska-BBE and it’s our third time going head-to-head with Detroit Lakes. Last week, we were short one of our players and Minnewaska beat us by 22, so to get them by a stroke today was fun. We’ve been within four shots of Detroit Lakes I think every meet we’ve played head-to-head, so that’s been exciting.”

Minnewaska joined forces with Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa this season as the Lakers shot a 337 at AGC. Detroit Lakes was two shots off of Alexandria at 338, and Osakis shot a 398, led by junior Lexi Dirkes’ 86.

Zupfer saw continued improvement from this young group on Wednesday. Freshman Cora Larson shot an 80 after finishing with a 38 on the back nine. Larson said it was her putter that helped her out as she recovered from a rough start to finish in a tie for fourth place overall.

“From the last two meets, (putting) was pretty rough so I didn’t really know how it was going to go,” Larson said. “Being out at (AGC) definitely helped knowing the slopes and stuff.”

Eighth-grader Hannah Boraas was not far behind Larson with an 83. Ciara O’Connor, the veteran of this group as a junior, shot 86, and eighth-grader Aisling O’Connor rounded out the scoring with an 87. Freshmen Lauren Rebrovich and Isabella Hagen shot 91 and 108, respectively.

“All of them had a rough start their first couple holes today,” Zupfer said. “I think they were actually more nervous playing at home in front of more family, but I was just so thrilled with the way we bounced back.”

Working those nerves out is something these players will continue to do by gaining more experience. Going up against perennial powers like Red Wing, Detroit Lakes and Minnewaska figures to only help this group.

“It helps you know where you can push yourself and where you can try to go in the future,” Larson said.

Zupfer sees a high ceiling with these players as he looks to future years. Right now, they are still growing in their games both physically and mentally, all while consistently competing among the top five teams at almost every meet.

“They’ve got some untapped potential there,” Zupfer said. “Their golf swings are very good. Like everybody, we have a few loose shots out there, but their games are only going to get better. The difference between the two players from Red Wing, their ball striking is a little bit better than ours, but when they do put themselves in some tough positions, their short games are so good that they get up and down. They’re able to scramble for some of those pars. That’s been something we’ve talked about, and that was better for us today.”

Minnewaska hoping to start another streak

Minnewaska was in uncharted territory last spring when the Lakers’ run of 13 straight state tournament appearances came to an end at the hands of Marshall.

Minnewaska-BBE will now try to start a new run, but head coach Tony Janu is not putting any pressure on his team after rejoining the Lakers as head coach after a few years away while coaching collegiately at the University of North Dakota.

“I told them that I don’t have any expectations for them,” Janu said. “We want to take it one meet at a time and just take the baby steps. If we do things right, at the end we might be at the state tournament, but we got to take those baby steps first. Working hard in practice and just learning from our mistakes.”

Senior Madi McGinty led the Lakers on Wednesday with an 83. Annika Stensrud and Jaqueline Gossen both shot 84, and Greta Reichmann rounded out the scoring with an 86.

Janu called it a steady round, but he knows his girls can improve their scoring as the season goes on, and it starts with the short game.

“Being this early in the season with the courses just getting open, we’ll get better at that,” he said. “There’s no doubt we will. We just haven’t had a whole lot of time to work at it.”

ALEXANDRIA INVITE AT AGC

TEAM SCORES - Red Wing - 314; Alexandria - 336; Minnewaska-BBE - 337; Detroit Lakes - 338; Wayzata - 343; Rogers - 381; Moorhead - 387; Fergus Falls - 395; Monticello - 394; Osakis - 398; Rocori - 429; St. Cloud Tech-Apollo - Inc.  

TOP-SIX INDIVIDUALS - Leah Herzog (Red Wing) - 68; Sophia Yoemans (Red Wing) - 69; Shelby Busker (Detroit Lakes) - 77; Cora Larson (Alexandria) - 80; Melanie Leminh (Wayzata) - 80; Anna Cihak (Detroit Lakes) - 80

ALEXANDRIA SCORES - Cora Larson - 42, 38 - 80; Hannah Boraas - 40, 43 - 83; Ciara O’Connor - 44, 42 - 86; Aisling O’Connor - 42, 45 - 87; Lauren Rebrovich - 45, 46 - 91; Isabella Hagen - 51, 57 - 108

MINNEWASKA-BBE SCORES - Madi McGinty - 41, 42 - 83; Annika Stensrud - 84; Jaqueline Gossen - 44, 40 - 84; Greta Reichmann - 44, 42 - 86; Emily Harste - 44, 47 - 91; Berkley Steffen - 53, 43 - 96

OSAKIS SCORES - Lexi Dirkes - 43, 43 - 86; Kadyn Triebenbach - 44, 49 - 93; Katie Helm - 52, 49 - 101; Marissa Reilly - 60, 58 - 118; Madi Lipke - 67, 61 - 128

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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