Golf: Lake City girls clinch 1AA championship
ROCHESTER, Minn. - Stewartville may have come away with the Hiawatha Valley League season title, but over the last two meets, the Lake City girls golf team has gotten the upper hand.
First, Lake City won the HVL finale last week, and more importantly on Thursday, Lake City punched its ticket to the state tournament.
Led by sophomore Claire Gruber's round of 78, Lake City held off Stewartville by 10 strokes to win the Section 1AA championship with a team score of 331 at Eastwood Golf Club.
"They're playing well at the very end and I'm very proud of them for that," Lake City head girls coach Steve Randgaard said. "The depth was there today."
After Gruber's second-place round, the rest of Lake City's lineup shot in the 80s as the team preps for its first state tournament appearance since 2006.
The Class 2A state golf tournament starts on June 11 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
"It feels really good; Stewartville's a really good team and everybody was at their best today," said Gruber, who shot a 37 on the back nine to help secure her second-place finish.
Stewartville finished with 341, while Zumbrota-Mazeppa (372) and Winona Cotter (410) took third and fourth, respectively.
Playing through a soggy, soft course, as well as a near three-hour weather delay, Lake City was able to finish strong to secure the section title.
"This was a career-low (team) score for us," Randgaard said. "They picked a good day for that."
Katy Bolduc and Emily Schimbeno, who both reached state as individuals in 2012, each carded 84s for Lake City. Eighth-grader Lexi Geolat sank a long putt on No. 18 to save par and finish with an 85.
"It's surreal," Geolat said of the Tigers' state berth. "It's a lot of fun to play with these girls."
Erin Pennington had a strong back nine to finish with an 86, and Lidia Wallerich shot an 89 for Lake City.
Molly Lawler led the Cougars to a third-place finish with a team-best round of 90. Kari Thoreson followed with a 91, Emily Krohn had a 92, and Maddie Nyhus completed the team score with 99. Emma Schneider and Whitney Ellefson carded 108 and 114, respectively.
Taking medalist honors was Stewartville's MacKenzie Olsen, who finished with a 76 to clinch a spot at state. Rochester Lourdes' Madeline Pagel (83), La Crescent's Alex Nutter (84), Byron's Kelsey Hedlund (85), Stewartville's Jessica Rosenblad (86) also advanced to state as individuals.
As rain and lighting forced golfers to cram into the clubhouse, Cannon Falls freshman Matt Moskal got a reprieve. And as golfers were getting antsy, Moskal was relaxing.
"It actually helped me," Moskal said of the weather delay. "Then after we came back out, I parred out the rest of the way."
Shooting 38s on the front and back, Moskal tied for third place individually with an 76, securing his first state tournament appearance.
"That's awesome; I can't believe it," Moskal said of seeing his score in the top five.
Moskal tied with Cotter's Charlie Kretschmer for third place with 76.
Shattuck-St. Mary's Anthony Brodeur, who is the son of NHL goaltender Martin Brodeur, took medalist honors with a 2-under par 69, two strokes better than Rochester Lourdes' Michael Dearani. Moskal, Brodeur and Kretschmer each advanced to state as individuals, along with Byron's Jacob Boe and Triton's Jaden Thiemann. After carding 77s and sitting in a three-way tie with Triton's Zach Otto, Boe and Thiemann advanced after a one-hole playoff.
Lourdes secured a spot in the state tournament after winning the section title with a team score of 308, besting Shattuck-St. Mary's by two strokes. LaCrescent was third with 338, and Lake City finished fourth with 357.
"It's probably been five or six years since we've been to sections as a team," said Lake City head boys coach Luther Berkeland. "This is a new experience for them."
Sophomore Sam Klipfel shot a 37 through his final nine holes to finish with 80, which was good for 12th place individually.
"He's only a 10th-grader; he's still got two more good years in him," Berkeland said of Klipfel.
Cory Dick nearly chipped in for a birdie on No. 9, capping off a strong finish to card an 86. Garten Haeska had a 92, and Matt Glasenapp penciled in a 99. Alex Meincke and Brandon Veek finished with 100 and 106, respectively.
The course conditions were less than ideal on Wednesday. But this spring, that's been the norm for the Tigers.
"Expect for our tournament at The Jewel (Golf Club in Lake City), we haven't played a course all year that I'd say was in good condition," Berkeland said.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa junior Isaac Leonard finished in a tie for 12th place, shooting 40s on the front and back to finish with an 80.