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Lake City looks to continue dominant run at Section 1AA girls golf meet

Led by a senior who has played a good amount of varsity golf and a freshman phenom, Lake City is the top-ranked Class AA girls high school golf team in Minnesota.

Class AA State Golf
Lake City’s Jordana Windhorst-Knudsen takes a shot on the 18th hole during the final day of the Class AA girls golf state tournament Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan. (Post Bulletin file photo by Andrew Link)

A lot of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘what might have beens’ were floating around the clubhouse at the Lake City Golf Course at this time a year ago.

Lake City had a girls high school golf team with generational talent.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and wiped out the entire spring sports season.

Instead of pouting, the Tigers’ girls got to work and focused on turning those ‘what-ifs’ into ‘what will be.’

And the time for ‘what will be’ is now.

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Lake City has redefined dominant this spring, winning every meet it has entered and placing five players on the All-Hiawatha Valley League team. To put that into perspective: Only four players’ scores count in a meet.

“That was tough last year, losing a season,” said Tigers head coach Steve Randgaard, one of the best in Section 1AA and in the state. “We were going to be really strong. But we return four girls this year who’ve played some varsity.

“We’ve had a nice run so far this year. We haven’t been beaten in any of our meets so far, which is really cool, and the girls are competitive and working hard.”

The Tigers are doing their best on the range and on the course to ensure their unbeaten streak lasts a few more weeks.

They tee off today as the favorite to win the 36-hole Section 1AA meet, which is being played at The Bridges in Winona. Should the Tigers win the section championship, they’ll be one of the favorites — if not the favorite — to win the Class AA state championship on June 15-16 at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.

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“Our girls know they have a couple of big days ahead,” Randgaard said. “This is a big week for them. They’re not looking ahead, I know that. There are some very tough teams (in the section). Byron is tough, Red Wing has some talent, too.”

Lake City counters with its own imposing lineup, led by freshman Jordana Windhorst-Knudsen. Senior Molly Kennedy is also a returning varsity regular, while sophomore Emma Berge and freshman Ella Matzke have stepped into top-four roles this season. Sophomore Brooke Bee also earned All-HVL honors.

“They’re all competitive and that does help them all,” Randgaard said. “They push each other and want to get better. And they are getting better. Some of these girls had never broke 90 before and now we see them shooting in the 80s.

“The (internal) competition is good and it’s a nice experience for all of them, too. Things are trending upward for us.”

Led by Kennedy and Windhorst-Knudsen, who has been the medalist in every meet Lake City has entered except one this season, the Tigers are the top-ranked Class AA teams in the Minnesota Golf Association high school girls rankings. They’re also ranked No. 4 overall, regardless of classification.

Windhorst-Knudsen is ranked 20th on the list of the top 100 girls players in the state, while Kennedy is 63rd.

“Molly has had a really good season,” Randgaard said. “You can tell, another year of developing and growing has helped her a lot. She’s gotten stronger and hits it really solidly.”

As for Windhorst-Knudsen, the freshman was the medalist at last week’s HVL meet, when she shot 79 and was the lone player in the field to break 80. She has shot in the 70s eight times this season and is averaging a score of 78.0 per 18 holes.

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“Her long game, she hits the ball really well and strikes it well, hits it a good distance,” Randgaard said. “She plays pretty much year-around. She’s definitely into the game seriously.

“She’s been an anchor for us … she’s rock solid as a leader for us and only a freshman. She’s really fun to watch.”

Related Topics: GOLFGIRLS GOLF
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