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Girls Golf: All 6 return to make Warriors a conference, section contender

Anna Krieger (left), Ellie Bymark, Alexis Menghini and the rest of the Brainerd High School girls golf team practice Wednesday, March 3, at the high school. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The entire cast returns for an encore performance.

All six Brainerd Warriors who played in last year's Section 8-3A meet return this season. This group placed fourth last season behind Bemidji, Alexandria and Buffalo. The goal this year is to leapfrog those three teams and return to the state meet for the first time since 1999.

Warriors head coach Todd Person believes the skill set and experience are there to accomplish the goal.

"I talked with the captains and they all want to improve individually and also contend for that top spot in the section," Person said. "Alexandria will be tough as they return almost their entire team, too. And they were young last year. It will be some work, but I think they can do it."

Person's optimism is because of Brainerd's power off the tee, as well as from the fairway. Leading that charge is senior captain Ellie Bymark.

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Girls Golf

  • Head coach: Todd Person (seventh year)
  • 2018 finish: Third in CLC, fourth in Section 8-3A
  • Returning section team members: Ellie Bymark, Izzy Olson, Katie Foley, Alexis Menghini, Abby Pohlkamp, Anna Krieger
  • Captains: Abby Pohlkamp, Alexis Menghini, Ellie Bymark, Anna Krieger
  • Assistant coach: Marcus Aulie

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The varsity veteran was tied for eighth place individually after the first round of the Section 8-3A meet, which returns to Rich Spring Golf Course in Cold Spring.

"I think after Ellie's first round at sections last year, it was kind of an eye-opening experience for her," Person said. "She was in that top spot and coach (Marcus) Aulie and I sat down with her after the section meet and just said that's where she belongs. She is totally capable of doing that on a regular basis. She's always kind of been intimidated playing some of those higher spots, but I think she saw that she is capable of it so we're hopeful that she'll be up there a lot more this year.

"She worked all offseason with Chris Foley and just worked on her course management. She's a strong girl, who can hit the ball a long way and that's an advantage for her as well."

Bymark opened with an 84, but faltered with a 95 in the second round. Senior captain Abby Pohlkamp was just the opposite as she opened with a 99 and closed out with an 83 for a two-day 182.

"Last year, the team voted her as the MVP and she comes out and pretty much looks like she never left. She's just so quick to get right back into things with her short game and things like that. She has such good touch and feel around that greens from that 50 yards and in. That's where she saves a lot of strokes."

Senior Alexis Menghini fired rounds of 90-91 to finish one stroke ahead of Pohlkamp.

"She's another one that works all offseason with Chris," Person said. "Last year, she didn't have the year that she was expecting. She's been out at the simulator out at the Legacy this spring so far and she's had a few times out there where she's really hit the ball well. I think if she gets some confidence going that she'll definitely be a top scorer for us."

Anna Krieger stepped into Brained's No. 1 spot as a freshmen and did everything she was asked. Her two-day 178 was good for the third Warrior score.

"Anna works hard year-round. They have a simulator at their house. She competes all summer long in tournaments and things around the area. She also plays a lot with Izzy Olson, who is an eighth grader for us. They play throughout the summer. She is just a focused hard worker. She's another one that's out at the Legacy with Chris during the offseason and during the summer and it shows.

"She doesn't let things out on the course ever really bother her. Her mental game, she's really tough out there. That's part of the reason she played No. 1 for us because it didn't bother her at all if a girl was way ahead of her in strokes. She just played her game and that's what we needed at that spot."

Freshman Katie Foley was the top Warrior finisher at sections last year. She opened with an 87 and posted a second-round 86.

"I think Katie has a goal to make it to state whether it's with the team or individually," Person said. "She puts in more time than anybody just because of the proximity of where she lives and her access to the things that her dad has out there. Anytime I've been there, Katie is always out there and around.

"She just continues to work. She's gained distance this year and I know she spends a lot of time on her putting. That was an area last year where she struggled a bit, and so if she can continue to improve in that area I would think she has a chance to make it for sure."

The surprise of last season will not be one this year. Eighth grader Izzy Olson is coming off state tournament seasons in diving and gymnastics. She was the second Warrior last year with a two-day 176.

"Last year, really kind of surprised us when we saw her at Riverside," Person said. "We were hitting foam balls and just the clubhead speed she generates and everything else, which is often a good indicator with how they are going to do. She just generates so much clubhead speed that I don't know if she played more than one junior high meet last year and we instantly pulled her up to the varsity level. Even though she played that sixth spot there were several times that we counted her score. Just having that experience and that confidence that she has, will continue to help her."

Although all six Warriors return that doesn't mean there will not be competition. Person likes what he's seeing from freshman Anna Angland, sophomore Brielle Stenglein and seventh grader Sophie Karsnia.

Breaking into the top six will be a challenge, however.

"That group, that top six espeically, they're really close," Person said. "They spend a lot of time in the van, especially when it's two and a half hours to some of those meets and then on the way home it's another two and a half hours. They do get to be quite close. They're enjoying it so far. They've got a good chemistry with that team."

Warrior roster:

Seniors: Ellie Bymark, Alexis Menghini, Abby Pohlkamp

Juniors: Emily Chen, Georgi Aus, Linsey Proctor

Sophomores: Anna Krieger, Carsyn Krassas, Kylie Christenson, Hailey Nameniuk, Brielle Stenglein

Freshmen: Anna Angland, Reagan Aus, Katie Foley, Taylor Ruhl,

Eighth grade: Izzy Olson

Seventh grade: Sophie Karsnia

Warrior schedule

Monday, April 15, in CLC meet at Rich Spring in Cold Spring 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 16, in CLC meet at Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud 3:30 p.m.

April 25, in CLC meet at Eagle Creek in Willmar 3:30 p.m.

April 26, in Bemidji Invite at Bemidji Town and Country Club 9:30 a.m.

April 30, in CLC meet at Madden's Resort 3:30 p.m.

May 3, in section triangular at Rich Spring in Cold Spring 10 a.m.

May 6, in CLC meet at Alexandria Golf Club 4 p.m.

May 9, in St. Cloud Invite at St. Cloud Country Club

May 10, in Presection 8-3A meet at Rich Spring in Cold Spring 9 a.m.

May 13, in CLC meet at Blackberry Ridge in Sartell 4 p.m.

May 15, in Warrior Invite at Madden's Resort 9 a.m.

May 16, in CLC meet at Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls 4 p.m.

May 21, in CLC meet at Wapicada Golf Course in St. Cloud 4 p.m.

May 29, in Section 8-3A first round at Rich Spring in Cold Spring 9 a.m.

May 30, in Section 8-3A final round at Rich Spring in Cold Spring 2 p.m.

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.

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