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Girls golf: O'Connor, Boraas gain confidence in second trip to state

Alexandria’s Hannah Boraas places her ball ahead of a putt at the Class AAA state tournament on Wednesday. Boraas shot a two-day score of 160 to finish tied for 16th. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Alexandria’s Ciara O’Connor chips from just off the green during Wednesday’s Class AAA state tournament. O’Connor shot a two-day score of 166 to finish 34th overall. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)2 / 2

Bunker Hills Golf Club is becoming familiar territory for Alexandria girls golfers Ciara O'Connor and Hannah Boraas.

Both girls made their second trip to the Class AAA state golf tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday after qualifying individually at the Section 8AAA tournament.

"I'm getting more familiar with the course. It really showed today," O'Connor said on Wednesday. "I was disappointed (Tuesday) because I had one of my worst rounds of the year. It felt so good to play like I did today here."

O'Connor shot an 88 in the first round. She was able to cut off 10 strokes for a Wednesday score of 78 to finish 34th overall with a 166.

"She's a leader on this team as a lone junior. She's going to be a really important piece next year as a senior," head coach Tim Zupfer said. "The way she was able to bounce back today was very impressive."

Although the girls were able to compete together, it's a bittersweet feeling not having the rest of the team. Alexandria was upset by Brainerd in the section tournament to keep the rest of the Cardinals in Alexandria. Boraas believes they can bring some key experience back to their teammates for next season.

"The mental toughness is something we all need to work on," she said. "I love having a teammate here because this is a hard environment to compete in. I think having this experience is only going to make us both better and push our team to get better."

Boraas shot an 80 on both days for an even score of 160. That left her tied for 16th individually. The tournament medalist was Isabella McCauley of Simley with a 135.

Last year, Boraas shot 179 as a seventh-grader. With four more years of varsity golf to play, Borass' expectations of herself will only expand after putting together such a strong season that included taking home the Section 8AAA medalist honor.

"Each year I want to get better than the last year," she said. "My short game wasn't great today, but I thought I played good. The other girls I played with were really good and they pushed me to play well."

Boraas is one of many talented young players in the state. McCauley of Simley is another one of them as a freshman who shot 67, 68 to finish 9-under par in taking home the title.

"You look at the girls (Hannah's) age and they're posting really low scores," Zupfer said. "It's incredible to watch them do that and they're going to make each other better. I'm excited to watch Hannah get better and improve in the coming years."

O'Connor is heading into her final year of varsity golf. After her second consecutive trip to the state tournament, her plans are to help lead this program back to state as a team in 2020.

"We can compete with these teams," O'Connor said. "Today did a lot for my confidence. I have to work on my short game, but I know what it takes to compete here. I think we can bring that to the other four girls in Alexandria because I really want them all here next year."

CLASS AAA TEAM SCORES - Chanhassen - 627; Edina - 640; Simley - 655; Roseville - 656; Stillwater - 677; Lakeville North - 685; Brainerd - 686; Forest Lake - 725

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