Area Male Athlete: S-M's Israelson is primed to finish strong

Glen Hasselberg's coaching philosophy with Andrew Israelson hasn't changed much in the six years he's coached him. "Open the van door and let him play." Israelson has been a mainstay on the Staples-Motley Cardinals' golf team since seventh grade....

Andrew Israelson
Andrew Israelson

Glen Hasselberg's coaching philosophy with Andrew Israelson hasn't changed much in the six years he's coached him.

"Open the van door and let him play."

Israelson has been a mainstay on the Staples-Motley Cardinals' golf team since seventh grade. This season he's won 10 tournaments, tied for the low round in another and tied for second in another.


Andrew Israelson


  • Year: Senior
  • School: Staples-Motley
  • Sport: Golf
  • Experience: Six years on varsity
  • Highlights: Won Mid-Minn Conference title and tied for second at Warrior Invite


Most recently, Israelson shot 72 May 23 to win the Mid-Minn Conference individual title and help the Cardinals to the team title. He tied for second in the Warrior Invite May 25 with a 74 at Cragun's Legacy Courses.

"There is no player in our program actively that works any harder," said Hasselberg. "He puts the time in and puts the effort out and when he gets it dialed in and he's focused it's pretty scary what he's capable of doing.

"He's a great inspiration to our program with the success that he's had. This goes back to when he was very young and shooting 67 as an eighth-grader in the section tournament. He's been a great role model and a great leader for us."

An easy assumption is that Israelson hasn't had to work hard at his game. His father, Bill, is the head PGA professional at The Vintage at Staples. His family lives on a golf course. It would be easy to think the game has come easy for him.

That would be wrong.

"I would agree and disagree with that," Andrew said. "I've had a lot of opportunities with golf to see how it's played and learn how to play it from great people, but at the same time I think anybody could go out and do that. Golf is a game of a lot of practice and hard work. It doesn't just come to you. You have to go out and take it for yourself. I think anyone could become a great player at anything they put their head to, including golf.

"My work ethic toward golf is top of the line I would say."


Israelson credited his family support for his success. He said Hasselberg has helped him think during rounds. He said he gained his competitiveness trying to beat his older brother Zach and older sister Emily.

He also credited the sport of basketball for helping him become a team player.

"Basketball is a lot different and it gives me a different viewpoint on sports," he said. "From individual to team and how much in a team sport you need to rely on your teammates. It's the same for golf if you put in the team perspective. You have to rely on those other three guys to score for your team otherwise your team isn't going to go anywhere.

"With basketball, it opened my eyes to just thinking more about my teammates and how people work. It not only helped me with golf, but with life."

Despite being a young team, Israelson said this year's team has good chemistry and a good chance to play deep in the postseason. One big reason for that has been Israelson himself.

"I think he's put a lot of time and a lot of effort into trying to get the guys around him to improve and be better," Hasselberg said. "He's taken a real role in trying to get the team better. He would love to play in the state tournament as a team opposed to just an individual. He's spent a lot of his time, that he would spend on his game, with the other players."

Israelson is taking his talent to Fargo next season to play for the North Dakota State University Bison. He says he's ready, but just needs two more weeks of high school golf to prove it.



Other notable performances:

Baseball: Brett Kapsner, Pierz, finished 2-4 with a home run and five RBIs against Little Falls.

Jake Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 3-3 with two doubles and an RBI against Pillager.

Lane Girtz, Pierz, finished 2-3 with a home run and two RBIs against Holdingford.

Matt Tautges, Pierz, struck out 10 and threw a 1-hit shutout against Osakis.

Drew Nordean, Aitkin, finished 2-4 with two RBIs against Pine City.

Track and field: Christopher Haman, Pine River-Backus, won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Subsection 23, Section 6-1A meet.

Reid Pierzinski, Pequot Lakes, won the 300 hurdles and triple jump at the Subsection 23, Section 6-1A meet.


Samuel Moore, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, won shot put and discus at the Subsection 23, Section 6-1A meet.


JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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