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Top sports stories 2009, No. 9: Young squad 2nd at state

Rachel Oeltjen hits a shot June 4 during the Class AA girls golf state tournament. - Republican Eagle file photo1 / 2
Marisa Toivonen hits an approach shot during the Class AA state tournament June 4. - Republican Eagle file photo2 / 2

So much for it being a rebuilding year for the Wingers.

Of the six Red Wing girls golfers who competed at the Class AA state tournament June 3 and 4 there was one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen. In spite of their youth, the Wingers finished second and equaled their finish from the previous season.

To put the Wingers' youth in perspective, consider that they have advanced to the state tournament 10 of the last 12 years and eight of those squads were older than the 2009 collection of golfers.

The Wingers finished with a two-day total of 677 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. That was 25 strokes better than Red Wing's score in 2001 -- the first year it won a state title.

However, it was not good enough to catch the Minnewaska Area juggernaut. The Lakers, the four-time defending state champions, fired a 610.

Sophomore Danielle Brooks tied for eighth (164) while junior Rachel Oeltjen tied for 23rd (173). Marisa Toivonen, a freshman, and Anna Busch, a sophomore, both carded a 174 and tied for 25th.

Sophomore Ashley Brooks (tied 31st, 176) and freshman Katie Kesti (tied 36th, 179) also competed for Red Wing.

"Next year I think we can do it," Oeltjen said of winning the program's fourth state title. "Four of us have already broke 80 at least once. If we can get more consistent, we can do it."

That won't be easy. Minnewaska Area had just one senior in 2009.