More solid play from several Iron Range girls golfers led to two top 10 finishes and another inside the top 20 at the conclusion of the Class A and Class AA state golf tournaments.
North Woods junior Coley Olson finished her fifth state tournament with a two-day 173, enough for seventh place.
Eveleth-Gilbert junior Taya Kwiatkowski was the top golfer for the Golden Bears in the Class AA meet, finishing tied for 10th with a two-day total of 161 (81-80). Her teammate, junior Mollie Albrecht, finished tied for 16th three strokes back of Kwiatkowski with a 164 (79-85).
Olson shot a 90 on day two, seven shots back from her 83 on day one to finish with a two-day 173, enough for seventh in the state.
Finishing inside the top eight, Olson earned medalist honors at the state tournament for the first time in her career. Grizzlies head coach Kandi Olson said that her star golfer really turned things up on the back nine holes.
“She had a pretty slow start to things today,” coach Olson said. “She just couldn’t get things to come together until she hit that 10th hole and then her game really started to come together for her.”
Finishing before some of the other top golfers on the leaderboard, Coley had to sweat it out as the final results came in to see if she would stay inside the top eight and in contention for a medal.
“She was definitely thrilled to medal this year and was really excited to see those final results. She knew that it was going to be really close if she made it or not and she was very relieved after all the scores came in.”
On Kwiatkowski breaking into the top 10, E-G head coach Cathy Larson said another solid back nine holes let the junior move up the scoreboard.
“Taya played really well on the back nine again today with a 36,” Bears head coach Cathy Larson said. “It was a big jump for Taya from last year’s 42nd place finish.”
On Albrecht’s play, Larson said the veteran golfer was more critical of herself on day two.
“Mollie is a little disappointed with her 85 today, her worst round of the year. She just had a couple of bad holes and continued struggling with her short game. However, Mollie had her best total at state, two strokes better than last year.”
With both of her top golfers seeing another state tournament, Larson says she’s looking forward to their senior season.
“I’m very proud of both of them. ... I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can do next year with the continued hard work and progress over the summer. They will both likely be playing in MGA (Minnesota Golf Association) events and tournaments this summer” and upping their game.
For North Woods, junior Kylie Parsons was the next highest for the Grizzlies, finishing in 26th with a 189 (96-93).
“Kylie’s game is really starting to come together right now,” coach Olson said. “She had a really nice round today and I think she’s very pleased with it. I was very happy with her play today and her overall composure throughout the tournament was fantastic.”
Freshman Haley Bogdan was third for the Grizzlies, finishing in 58th with a 208 (103-105) and seventh grader Victoria Olson rounded out the scoring top four tied for 78th with a two-day 236 (120-116).
Other Grizzlies at the state meet include Kadence Holland in 80th (114+124=238) and Morgan Burnett in 81st (119+120=239).
As a team, the Grizzlies finished tied for fifth overall with a two-day total of 800, one spot ahead of where they were after the first day.
“It was our goal to try and bump up at least one place from yesterday to today so I’m thrilled the team was able to put together another big day and make that happen.
“We’re excited for next year,” Olson said of her team that is set to return every player from this season. We’ve already set some goals for next year. As soon as we got in the van after the day was over, the girls started talking about next year and what they wanted to do so that was really great.”
BOLD High School took home the girls’ Class A team title with 704. Lac qui Parle Valley’s was the individual champion in Class A with a two-day 160.
In Class AA. Red Wing won with a team total of 646 and were led by individual champion Sophia Yoemans at 138.