Four area golf teams punched their tickets to their respective state tournaments May 30.
Defending Class A boys’ champion Legacy Christian will return to Pebble Creek Golf Club to defend its title after capturing the Section 4A title, as did the Lions girls’ team, which cruised to a 15-stroke win over West Lutheran. Meanwhile, Andover girls won the Section 7AAA title and Blaine girls won the Section 5AAA title.
Legacy Christian Academy
Senior Trent Anderson finished four strokes behind medalist, Southwest Christian’s Luke Johanson, who carded a two-round total of 143. Anderson had rounds of 73 and 74 to lead the Lions followed by sophomore Jake Hoscheid’s 157 (77-80) to place fifth overall, while sophomore Caleb Johnson 159 (83-76) tied for seventh place overall to give Legacy three golfers among the top eight individuals. Senior Aaron Hudak carded a 172 (85-87) to round out four team scores. Senior Colton Richards and freshman Jack Yaeger scored 177 and 190, respectively.
The Legacy girls’ team won its section crown by 42 strokes and looks to improve on its fourth-place finish at state last year.
Lions seventh-grader Sophia Gray, sister of defending Class A state champion and current Concordia University freshman Rachel Gray, led the team individually with a two-round score of 177 (88-89), nine strokes behind section medalist, Southwest Christian’s Christine Piwinca (168).
Legacy was greatly helped by placing its top four players among the top eight individuals overall with Jillian Johnson (sixth place overall, 199), Kayla Ruf (seventh place, 204), Lindsey McAlpin (eighth place, 207), Anna Cleveland (ninth place, 211) and Jadyn Nelson (17th place, 236). The top four scores count for the team total, leaving Cleveland and Nelson out of the team totals, despite some low scores.
The Class A state meet is scheduled for June 11-12 at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.
Andover girls have been playing at a high level all season led by junior multiple-time state entrant Sierra Langlie and sophomore Haley Tollette.
“All of the girls played great with a lot of confidence,” Huskies coach Wade Johnson said. “If we can continue to play with this same confidence my goal is to finish in the top half at state as a team.”
The team can add the Section 7AAA team championship, while Langlie was medalist, carding rounds of 73 and 74.
Her 147 score was five strokes better than Grand Rapids senior Dani DelGreco and seven shots clear of Tollette, who had rounds of 78 and 76 for a third-place finish. Andover senior Lauren Peterson carded rounds of 90 and 88 and freshman Lindsey Peterson added a 94 and 97 for the final team result.
St. Francis’ Emily Larson followed an opening round 83 with a 79 earn a spot in the state meet with a fifth best score of 162. Saints teammate Paige Berg secured the final state qualifying position with a two-round 166 (86-80).
The Huskies boys’ team finished four strokes out of the top three teams who qualified for the second round to determine the Section 7AAA team champion. Seth Lawrence led Andover a pair of 76s and Sam Steinwand and Austin Meissner each carded first round 78s to give the squad three scores in the 70s. Luke Herda and Brad Williams followed with rounds of 80. Lawrence carded the lone 70s score in the second round.
St. Francis placed 11th out of 13 teams after round one, led by 82s from Brett Aldrich and Tanner Engberg. Kyle Wagner, Mitch Zebro and Andrew Cullen each carded 84s to complete the team score.
Blaine returns to state as the back-to-back Section 5AAA champion with hopes of improving on a ninth-place finish in the State Class AAA standings.
The Bengals used consistent play across its roster to win the section team title against runner-up Maple Grove by 14 strokes. Spring Lake Park freshman Ally Rogers earned medalist honors by shooting an 85, while the Panthers placed eighth, two strokes out of fifth place. Coon Rapids was 11th with a 416 and Anoka was 12th with a 438.
Rogers rebounded from a rocky start on the first hole to post the lowest round of the day. Playing with the No. 1 group, she found a bunker on hole one and took two strokes to get out of the sand only to find the deep rough before carding an eight.
“I thought we might be in for a long afternoon,” Panthers coach Tom Benson said.
But Rogers followed with a string of pars to get back into contention. “From there on out she played with confidence and was very mentally strong,” Benson said. “I was really very proud of the fact that after the first hole she really could have given up on the round but she kept her composure.”
With more than a full week between sections and state, Bengals coach Bill Davids attempted to keep the team loose on the course by changing up the practice routine earlier in the week. One day the team joined up with the Blaine boys’ squad at Majestic Oaks followed by a friendly best-ball contest with fellow coaches, including Steve Guider, before heading over to Bunker Hills for a practice round.
“I think it’s unique to have five that can shoot 90 and under consistently,” Davids said.
Senior Hannah Andrews led the team with an 86, one stroke back of Rogers’ winning score. Hannah’s sophomore sister Caroline Andrews placed fifth overall with an 87, Rylee Slotsve scored an 88 and Leah Swanson shot an 89 to complete the team scoring. Sophomore Jenna Franzen carded a 91 to tie for 13th place which was Blaine’s fifth best score.
According to Davids, the team didn’t play up to its potential, but it was enough to pick up another section title.
“No one played an outstanding round but we’ve got a solid team,” Davids said.
Franzen said she was more nervous going into her first state tournament experience. This time she had a better idea of what to expect so the focus was on posting low scores, she said.
“We’re all so close to each other that if one messes up we have their back,” Franzen said.
Sophomore Caroline Andrews echoed her classmate’s thoughts. “Expectations for us are a lot higher this year because we wanted to make it again,” Andrews said. “I’ve been working a lot on putting and [Hannah’s] been working on hitting.”
Senior captain Swanson said the team has more pressure on itself to compete at state, having gone through the paces last spring with the same group.
Everyone has an area of their game to work on during the week and Swanson said she’s working the most on putting. “I was missing a lot of 5-10 foot putts at sections so I’ve been doing a lot of drills and just practicing,” she said.
Swanson was on the Majestic Oaks course Tuesday afternoon after spending time on the Bunker Hills practice greens earlier in the day.
• Coon Rapids senior Megan Bratland placed 24th overall with a team low round of 96; Kelsey Patricelli placed 37th with a 101; Kelsey Hedman was 49th with a 107 and Amber Ammann placed 57th with a 112.
• Anoka senior Marissa Roo led the team with a score of 101 to place 37th; Julia Mantey was 49th with a 107; Tori Seymour was 60th with a 114 and Abby Lerom was 63rd with a 116.
Following Rogers’ meet-low round, eighth-grader Erica Olson placed 33rd with a 100, Allie Guzy was 41st with a 103 and Ali Schultz and Sam Auman tied for the fourth-best team score with rounds of 103.