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Area Female Athlete: S-M's super soph superb this season

Emily Israelson is just a sophomore.

So it’s hard to fathom all the things she’s already accomplished in her four-year career as a member of the Staples-Motley Cardinals girls golf team.

Israelson added four more individual medalist titles to her career list this season, including three straight. She started with a win at the Detroit Lakes Invite. She followed that with a win at the Sartell Invite May 7, a victory at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge during the Ranger Invite May 8 and capped the week off with a 75 to win the Staples-Motley Invite May 12 at The Vintage in Staples.

“I was really happy to win my home invite,” said Israelson. “It was nice to win in front of my friends and family and on my home course.”

Even when she’s not winning, she is in the conversation.

Israelson fired a 76 to finish second in the Mid-State Conference championship May 14 at Breezy Point Resort. She fired an 83 May 17 at the St. Cloud Country Club to finish ninth in the St. Cloud Apollo Invite.

She was one stroke away from another individual title as she shot 80 May 19 to finish second at the Wadena-Deer Creek Invite at Whitetail Run.

“Obviously the pool of good players has increased over the years and to maintain that kind of consistency takes a pretty special player,” said S-M head coach Glen Hasselberg. “She is there day in and day out. An off round for her is a low 80s.

“I think that’s her real strength. She just knows how to get a round the golf course. Even when not necessarily everything is clicking or going the way she would like, she can make it work. If she isn’t hitting her driver the way she would like she makes the best of it and still puts up a good number.”

Israelson will enter the Subsection 6-2A tournament at Blackberry Golf Course in Sartell with a scoring average of 76.5. Her hope is to get back to the state tournament, where she finished tied for ninth with a two-day 162 last season.

“My putting that week was horrid,” said Israelson. “I totally struggled with it. I feel more confident than I played last year, though. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed because I did shoot what I wanted to shoot there. How I finished made me upset, though.”

Along with being consistent, Hasselberg said Israelson is very competitive. Despite being only a sophomore, she simply hates to lose.

“When you have success as a younger player it’s harder to get a grasp of the fact that you aren’t going to play great every single time you tee it up,” Hasselberg said. “But she is a great competitor. She loves to compete and she doesn’t like to lose, but in the same token, she does realize there are a lot of good players out there and she fits into that category.”

Other notable performances:

Softball: Lexi Hanson, Pine River-Backus, went 3-3 with a triple and two doubles and allowed just two hits in a shutout victory over Laporte.

Mikaela Michaletz, Aitkin, finished 4-5 with a double, home run and four RBIs against Pine City.

Brooke Trottier, Pequot Lakes, finished 2-3 with two doubles and four RBIs against Pine River-Backus.

Morgan Cunningham, Pillager, hit 5-of-6 with two home runs, including a grand slam, against Parkers Prairie.

Megan Vetsch, Staples-Motley, struck out 10 and walked two leading to a 9-0 victory over Long Prarie-Grey Eagle.

Kyann Nyhus, Staples-Motley, finished 3-3 with two runs scored and an RBI against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

Jamie Jenks, Little Falls, finished 2-2 with a grand slam, double, five RBIs and four runs scored against Pierz.

Alayna Kabanuk, Little Falls, finished 4-4 with a double and two RBIs against Pierz.

Track and field: Abby Palmer, Pequot Lakes, won the long and triple jumps and was part of two winning relays at the Mid-State Conference meet.

Tianna Eng, Pillager, won the 3200- and 1600-meter runs at the Park Region Conference meet.

JEREMY MILLSOP, sports writer, may be reached at 855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
(218) 855-5856