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Girls Golf: Winger girls hold off Tigers for section title

The Red Wing girls golf team took home the Section 1AA championship with a two-day team score of 640, beating Lake City by 11 strokes Wednesday at Eastwood Golf Club in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 4
Red Wing's Stephanie Herzog tees off on hole No. 1 during Day 2 of the Section 1AA championship meet Wednesday at Eastwood Golf Club in Rochester. Herzog shot a two-day total of 151, taking medalist honors in the process. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 4
Lake City's Claire Gruber watches her tee shot on hole No. 17 during her round Wednesday at Eastwood Golf Club in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 4
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Emily Krohn chips out of the sand at hole No. 11 during the Section 1AA championship meet Wednesday in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)4 / 4

ROCHESTER – The battle for supremacy in Section 1AA came down to Wednesday’s final round. All season, Red Wing and Lake City had kept an eye on each other, while annihilating the rest of the Missota Conference, Hiawatha Valley League and other regional foes.

After Friday’s first round, the Wingers held a slim six-shot lead as the two teams cruised through the Sub-section 1AA East field. Wednesday would crown a section champion, while the runner up would have to fight for individual state tournament bids. But, as it turned out, the two teams nearly sent enough golfers for two section teams.

Red Wing, with a combined score of 640, took home the team trophy, and will send all six varsity athletes to state. Lake City, with a 651, took second place. But the Tigers will send three golfers to the Class AA state tournament, and nearly sent a fourth.

“We knew the competition was pretty high with Red Wing in our section, and hats off to them, they’re a solid team,” said Lake City head coach Steve Randgaard. “We struggled on the putting greens today. We hit the ball well from tee to green, but around the greens, we didn’t putt very well.”

The Wingers didn’t exactly run away with the tournament, but the play from the top of the lineup was solid on the back nine, where the girls started their rounds.

“We struggled out of the gate team-wise,” said Red Wing head coach Mark Herzog. “We had a few pars, and holes 11, 12, 13 and 14, those four holes, Stephanie (Herzog) and Sophia (Yoemans) played them really solid, and Nicole (Schammel) had a birdie, she was one under… After seven holes, I felt really good where we were at.”

But other than Schammel, the Wingers started to struggle when they made the turn.

“I (still) felt we were in good position, and Nicole held her round together,” Mark Herzog said. “And the last few holes, I told Stephanie to just finish out with some bogeys, and we’ll be OK, we just don’t want eights and nines. I felt the conditions were tough. But Nicole and Stephanie were solid for us all year.”

Solid might be a bit of an understatement as Herzog and Schammel placed first and second, respectively, with a 151 and a 156. Yoemans came in fourth with a 159.

Those three were pivotal in guiding Red Wing back to the state tournament. And, yet, Lake City was right there, nearly sending four to state, the number of golfers that count for a team.

Emily Schimbeno shot a 159 to take third, with Lexi Geolat (160) and Erin Pennington (166) not far behind. Olivia Matzke’s 169 would have been good enough for that fourth spot, but Stewartville’s Mackayla Olson also fired a 169, forcing a playoff for the fifth and final individual invitation, which Olson won, joining her sister Mackenzie as a state qualifier.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa finished fourth in the team tournament with a 746. Kari Thoreson was the top finisher for the Cougars, shooting a 178, which was good for 14th in the individual competition.

State won’t necessarily be a crowning affair for anyone, as three of the top four scoring teams in the state reside in Class AA. Detroit Lakes leads Minnesota with an average of 308.7, followed by New Prague (Class AAA) with a 318.0. Red Wing (319.0) and Lake City (320.0) closely follow.

The girls Class AA tournament tees off at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 10, at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The second, and final, round is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 11.

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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