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State Golf: Belisle, Yoemans, Red Wing girls win state titles

Sophia Yoemans and Leah Herzog embrace after Yoemans finishes her second round at the State Tournament on June 12. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 7
Diane Belisle hugs her son, Red Wing's Cecil Belisle, after he won the Class AA State Title. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 7
Cecil Belisle and Red Wing Head coach pose for photos after Belisle is awarded the individual state title. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 7
Red Wing's Sophia Yoemans reacts after sinking her final put of the second round at the State Tournament on June 12. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 7
Red Wing's Sophia Yoemans tees off the start of her second round of the Class AA State Tournament on June 12 at Ridges at Sand Creek. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 7
Red Wing's Cecil Belisle tees off on hole No. 17 in his second round at the Class AA State Tournament on June 12 at Ridges at Sand Creek. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 7
Red Wing's Leah Herzog tees off the start of her second round of the Class AA State Tournament on June 12 at Ridges at Sand Creek. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 7

Clear space in the trophy case. Red Wing has three more trophies to add.

Five hours after Winger Cecil Belisle won his second boys’ golf state title in three years, Sophia Yoemans won her third consecutive girls’ state title. The two became the fifth pair of golfers in state high school history to win an individual state title from the same school. The last time a boys’ and girls’ golfer from the same school won their respective title was, conveniently, Belisle and Yoemans in 2017.

“You don't spend six hours out on a golf course not to win a championship,” said Belisle, who finished with a two-day total of 143. “You gotta have that mentality of showing up to a tournament and wanting to win as Tiger Woods once said.”

Yoemans added about her title, “It's my sixth state tournament and I played with my good friend Anna (Cihak) from Detroit Lakes. We just made it fun out there. We both made some bogeys, but kept each other going. It was a fun way to end the season.”

Belisle, a Minnesota State, Mankato commit, said he felt some frustration after a triple-bogey on the first hole of the first round.

Red Wing boys’ head coach Nate Gale said he didn’t think Belisle was in trouble, just that the triple-bogey was uncharacteristic.

“(Belisle) never hits it crooked, let alone two in a row out of bounds,” Gale said. “Usually a bad shot for him is in the rough. He lost one ball all year. He lost three balls yesterday. We weren't worried it would wreck his day or tournament, but it was definitely surprising. Especially there, that's a birdie hole for him and he makes eight right out of the chute. That's a four shot swing which he has to overcome.”

Belisle admitted he had work to do, but needed to look forward to the next hole.

“I was crabby,” Belisle said of his emotions after his triple-bogey. “The conditions weren't for scoring, but somehow I still made six birdies.”

Belisle overcame his first-hole troubles, sharing the lead with nine holes to go. He birdied his 13th hole and played even the rest of the way to secure his title.

For Yoemans, she bested her teammate, Leah Herzog, for the win. Yoemans birdied two of the final three holes in her second round to finish three under par, just as she did in the first round. The two-round score of 138 was enough to beat Herzog’s 145.

In addition to the titles won by Belisle and Yoemans, the girls’ team won the team title.

Down by six strokes after the first round and even more nine holes into the second round, the Wingers made up serious ground on the back nine to win by one stroke.

“It was a surprise,” said Red Wing head coach Mark Herzog. “Leah made a great put on No. 15 and No. 17, then Sophia made a great put on No. 18. Anyone of those three don't go down, we don't win.”

One of the shots that potentially sealed it for the Wingers, was Yoemans’ put from the lip of the 18th green. Happily surprised by the team title, there was no dramatic putt or climactic moment; just the realization that it was over.

“Closure is hard,” Mark said of the emotions watching Leah and Yoemans walk down the 18th fairway. “(Leah) started crying out on the 18th fairway. She said she was crying because her career was almost over. I told her, 'We have to get ourselves composed. We have one hole left. Hole it out and we'll cry after.' She had a hard time getting herself composed.”

After Yoemans finished her round, Leah and Mark were there to greet her. Yoemans and Leah embraced.

To wrap up the week for the Wingers, the boys’ team finished in fourth place and, earlier in the week, Leah Herzog was named Ms. Minnesota Golf for 2019.

“What a week we’ve had,” Mark said. “They’ve all been different people too. A state champion, then another is Ms. Minnesota, then the team title. There is something for everyone to celebrate, and they get to celebrate with their team, too.”