2016 area golf preview


(The following teams submitted information for this report)

Blooming Prairiehas three of its top players back from a year ago, all of whom averaged 48.7 per nine holes or better. The Blossoms top returner is junior Tommy Braaten (41.3 avg.), who finished third in the Gopher Conference meet and missed qualifying for the Class A state meet by one stroke. He played at state two years ago as a freshman. Seniors John Hatch and Brody Carlson were both honorable mention All-Gopher last season. Hatch averaged 46.8 per nine holes, while Carlson averaged 48.7. Senior Ethan Strunk and sophomore Jake Ressler are also expected to contribute to the Blossoms' varsity. "We are very excited for the season," said Cory Hendrickson, the team's co-head coach along with Carl Peterson. "We feel we have two or three golfers with a chance to advance and possibly place highly in the state tournament. But they have a lot of work to do before we ever get to that point. We will be able to field a fairly competitive team this year. We have some boys that have some experience playing tournament golf and have put in time to get better."

Byronreturns a strong lineup from last year's team that qualified for the Section 1AA finals. Three golfers on this season's team — sophomore Hunter Fjerstad, junior Nick Hillemeier and senior Riley Truax — finished in the top 10 in the section, but finished just outside the cut to qualify for the Class AA state meet. Fjerstad, the Hiawatha Valley League individual champion, placed sixth in the section, just two shots out of a state meet berth. Hillemeier, the HVL meet medalist, finished seventh in the section. Truax placed 10th. Seniors Chris Streed and Matt Shupert are other returning letterwinners.

Fillmore Centralcoach Brad Holten has a veteran lineup back after winning the Section One, Class A championship a year ago and placing eighth at the state meet.. That lineup includes five players who started for the Falcons last season. Seniors Alex Lange and Matson Kiehne will lead the way, along with juniors Connor Morem and Delton Sauer, and sophomore Carter Nevalainen. More than a dozen other golfers will compete for varsity time, including four seniors and five juniors. The Falcons lost talented golfer Jordan Miller to graduation, but they will have plenty of depth and competition for varsity spots this season. "We will have a bit of a new look with an open spot on varsity to be competed for, but still hope to be very competitive in the Three Rivers Conference," Holten said. "The boys will be hungry to make a return trip to the state tournament. They also realize that puts a target on their back. We played very well last year and made it to the state tournament. The goal is to always return. With that in mind, the boys will work hard and play one meet at a time."


Kasson-Mantorvillelost two key seniors from last season's team that finished in the middle of the HVL. The biggest loss was Keagan Kochie, who placed 9th in the Class AA state meet. K-M will be led this season by three returning seniors, Max Blaisdell, Grant Badger and Isaac Thoe. "Depth will be an issue for our team," coach Jeff Bernards said. "Those three seniors are solid performers with the ability to go low at any time. We're hoping that some youngsters step up and fill the gap." Bernards is assisted this season by the K-M's School Resource Officer, Jason Peck. "It's a chance for him and the students to see each other in a different light," Bernards said.

La Crescentcoach Dave Kubicek is pleased with the competition he has seen so far this season, due largely to a good number of players on the roster. The Lancers have 20 boys out for golf and have five starters back in their lineup. That group includes just one senior, Gage Undahl. The others are sophomore Patrick McCoy and freshmen Ryan Lemke, Grant Nutter and Alex Ferrier. Senior Jordan Graf is another player who could compete for a varsity spot; he's out for golf for the first time. Underclassmen Calob Limberg (junior), James Kies (sophomore) and Alex Kerska (freshman) also will challenge for playing time.

Lanesborois upbeat about the coming season thanks to its numbers; the Burros have 17 players on the roster this spring under co-head coaches Krissy Overland and Matt Lawstuen. Four seniors are back to lead the way, Adam Sutter, Isaac Bierman, Markus Mulvihill and Nick Wagner. Junior Jared Kelly is also back after seeing some varsity action last season. Fellow juniors Marcus Walbridge and Ben Gjere also could challenge for varsity lineup spots.

Pine Islandwill put an experienced and veteran lineup on the course this season. The Panthers have five returning starters from last season, led by senior Keenan Peterson Rucker. Juniors Kaleb Kautz, Luke Runge and Cole VanHouten, and sophomore Hayden Larsen are also returning to the lineup. "The boys will compete if our top five can play consistently," said head coach Rick Canton, who tabbed Lourdes, Triton and Byron among the favorites to compete for the HVL title.

Rushford-Petersonlost two quality senior golfers, Alex Vix and Charlie Krambeer, the latter was a two-time state-meet qualifier. R-P will be young, but it does have an experienced group back after winning the Three Rivers Conference meet last season. The Trojans have four letterwinners back, Kyle Weidemann, Hayden Stensgard, Lucas Rassmussen and Dylan Buckland.

St. Charlescoach Terry Knothe is back for his 36th season and has a solid lineup to coach, with four starters returning. That group is paced by sophomore All-Three Rivers Conference player Parker Cage. He is joined by returning starters Isaiah Wimmer (junior), Mason Buck (sophomore) and Logan Gall (freshman). "We should have a solid season, given the experience we return," Knothe said. "We don't have a super high number of golfers. Our depth will be a bit short."

Southlandhas a good mix of veterans youth. The Rebels have one senior, Sheldon Anderson, and one junior, Thomas Bottema, out for the team. They also will have three sophomores in the mix, Jacob Schmitz, Logan Dion and Jacob Stephens; as well as freshman Cullen Erie and seventh-graders Wayde Pederson, Ethan Forthun and Garrett Schaefer.

Tritoncoach Joe Hansen has some talented players to work with, all of whom were a part of the Cobras Section 1AA championship and fifth-place finish at the Class AA state meet last season. Triton will be led by one of the top golfers in the area and the state, senior Jaden Thiemann, who was an All-HVL player last season and placed seventh at the state meet. Senior Ethan Otterbein and freshman Austin Gillund also were All-HVL players. "We should have a solid team with a good mix of experience and youth," Hansen said. "Jaden and Ethan will both continue their golf careers next year at Savannah (Ga.) State University. The question will be finding another score or two every meet."


Wabasha-Kellogghas some experienced players, but is short on numbers. Four letterwinners are back for coach Jerry Dalen. The four returning players are all seniors, Dylan Schuth, Christian Prescher, Andrew Wise and Elliot Wise. Sophomore Cody Irish and seventh-grader Kedron Reimers are other top candidates for varsity spots. "We need to increase our numbers," Dalen said. "Individually, we have a couple of golfers who have a chance to make the state meet."

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(The following teams submitted information for this report)

Blooming Prairiewill be led by junior Taylor Christianson, who placed 12th at the Class A state meet last year after earning medalist honors at the Gopher Conference meet and the Section 1A meet. She averaged 44.7 per 9 holes in conference play. Co-head coaches Cory Hendrickson and Carl Peterson expect Christianson to contend for both titles, and a place in the state meet, again this season. The Blossoms will not be able to field a full team for meets, though.

Caledoniahas three letterwinners back, but will have some competition for the fourth varsity spot. The Warriors will be led by those three returning players, senior Claudia Melde and sophomores Rebeckah Schreoder and Katrina Paulson. "We'll be led by our three returning letterwinners. We need a good fourth score to keep our team competitive," coach Mitch Mullins said. "We will work on improving our game to be competitive against the better teams come tournament time."

Houstonhas four players back, led by state meet qualifier Kelly Jerviss, a senior who averaged 50.3 per 9 holes last spring. Jerviss became the first female golfer from Houston ever to reach the state meet. "Her best golf of the season was at the state meet," coach Ryan Gatzlaff said. "Kelly has excelled in three sports at Houston. She is the all-time leading scorer in girls basketball and she is looking to return to state in golf after a successful state tournament last year." Freshman Kate Thompson will be the No. 2 player for Houston. She already has two years of varsity experience and had the second-best scoring average on the team last season. Sophomore Brynne Schultz and freshman Lilli Carlson are also back for the Hurricanes this year.

Kasson-Mantorvillelost one key golfer to graduation, All-HVL player Camille Snyder. But the KoMets have three strong returning players back, in seniors Gretchen Johnson, Kendall Alexander and Emma Brumfield. "We need to replace (Snyder's) score," coach Jeff Bernards said. "The three returners are solid, but we are looking for a fourth score and for one of those three to drop down and be our top scorer. All of them are capable."


Lanesborohas 11 girls out for golf this spring, led by the only senior on the team, Madeline Snyder. She qualified for the Class A state meet a year ago after a strong performance in the Section 1A meet. Junior Hope Knepper and sophomore Janell Boyum are the only other returning varsity players. "There are still a few spots to fill on our roster," co-head coach Krissy Overland said, "but we have a group of talented younger girls and new faces in our program who will look to fill those spots."

Pine Islandcoach Rick Canton has just three players out for golf, all of them juniors. The Panthers will be led by juniors Emily Fried, Arlena Schmidt, and Lauren Hunskor.

Red Wingis moving up from Class AA to Class AAA after capturing the program's fifth state championship last season. The Wingers will still be one of the favorites to capture a state title against the state's biggest schools. Red Wing has four ultra-talented players, all of whom finished 28th or better at state last season. Junior Stephanie Herzog tied for fourth place, while senior Solveig Christianson, and freshmen Sophia Yeomans and Leah Herzog helped the Wingers bring home their second title in five years. Yeomans and Leah Herzog may be the top two freshmen in the state, while Stephanie Herzog is consistently in the low- to-mid 70s. Senior Maddy Hardyman gives the Wingers a strong fifth player.

St. Charlesreturns a full lineup of letterwinners, including four strong starters. The Saints will be led by senior Calle Fisher, an All-Three Rivers Conference player last season. She is joined by three other all-conference golfers, juniors Nicole Splittstoesser and Maricela Salas, and sophomore Alyssa Drath. Sophomores Annika Drath and Tenisha Schweitzer are also back after lettering last season on a team that won the Three Rivers Conference West Division.

Southlandhas a young team that will grow as the season goes along. The Rebels don't have a single junior or senior on the roster and they have just one sophomore out, Hannah Bergene. The rest of the lineup will feature some combination of freshmen Laura Bottema, Kylie Poshusta and Erin Hanson; eighth-graders Peyton Schmitz and Maddie Merten; and seventh-graders Roisin Haslam and Cassidy Canterbury.

Tritonhas three golfers back who lettered last season. All are freshmen: Shelby Maloney, Mikayla Courteau and Courtney Streiff. "While young, we do return three letterwinners," coach Joe Hansen said. "They are all eager to get better and want to be on the course. We will look to improve and grow every day. While we may not be at the top of the pile this year, we are looking down the road to a pretty bright future."

Wabasha-Kellogghas three players back from a year ago. Just one of those three is a senior, and she is the Falcons' top player. Natalie Schmit was a Class A state meet qualifier a year ago. She is joined as varsity returners by junior Manna Prescher and freshman Taylor Sue Rabehl. Another freshman, Jenna Eversman, is also expected to contribute to the varsity.

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