COLD SPRING-A birdie putt on 18 from Katie Foley helped.
A long, 18-foot birdie putt on 18 from Anna Krieger helped.
Ellie Bymark shaving 10 strokes from her first-round score helped.
Abby Pohlkamp carding two 84s helped.
Senior Alexis Menghini shooting an 86 proved the difference, however, as the Brainerd Warriors rallied from seven strokes back to tie Alexandria with a 661 after the final round of the Section 8-3A Tournament, Wednesday, May 29, at Rich Spring Golf Course.
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Team scores: 1-Brainerd 661, 2-Alexandria 661, 3-Bemidji 671, 4-Willmar 699
Individual medalist: Hanna Borras (Alex) 76-75-151
Brainerd results: Katie Foley 79-76-155, Anna Krieger 87-77-164, Abby Pohlkamp 84-84-168, Alexis Menghini 90-86-176, Izzy Olson 90-88-178, Ellie Bymark 94-84-178
Next: Brainerd in Class 3A State Tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Club, Coon Rapids June 11-12.
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With both teams tied, the deciding factor to determine who advanced to the Class 3A State Tournament, June 11-12, at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, was the No. 5 scorer of the final round.
That distinction went to Menghini's 86, four shots better than her opening round 90, and more importantly, three shots better than Alexandria's fifth scorer.
"We beat Alexandria by seven shots today," Warriors head coach Todd Person said with a little extra excitement in his voice.
"Katie Foley put a birdie putt in at 18," Person added. "Anna Kreiger had about an 18-footer on 18 and dropped that in to go up by seven. We tied them. It went to the fifth score and Alexis beat her girl by three strokes.
"It's unbelievable. I'm beside myself. I didn't even want to go into the clubhouse because I didn't want to even see what they were doing for the tiebreak."
This will be Brainerd's second state tournament appearance and first since it won the Class 2A state title in 1999.
"Last Monday, when we were here for the (Central Lakes) conference meet, we lost to Alexandria by nine," Person said. "I think they could see that they weren't that far off. I just kept saying over and over again that it's only two shots a player and we can do it.
"Then (Tuesday) being down by only seven, they were in pretty good spirits last night. I just said 'we're getting closer and closer every single time.'
"They got to the course this morning. They were well rested. They felt good and just as it was going (assistant coach Marcus) Aulie and I were following the girls and kept texting each other. As we updated the girls, they kept seeing we were winning each match as it went though. They just started to believe."
Foley fired a 76 on her second round to finish with a second-place 155. She opened with a 41, but rallied for a 1-under 35 on the back nine. Foley was just four shots off the individually winner, Hannah Borras of Alexandria.
"Both Alexis and Ellie turned their first nine with a 40 and that was a huge shot in the arm for everybody else," Person said. "Katie was 1-under on her back and she missed a makeable birdie putt a few holes before that as well."
Krieger tied for fifth with her two-day 164. The sophomore shaved 10 strokes off her opening round and shot 77 Wednesday, including her long birdie on the 18th.
"Even before the turn you could sense something was happening," Person said. "Anna was 1-under through her first four holes. Katie was making pars right in front of her and they were off to better starts today than Tuesday. Anna just kept it rolling.
"All the girls were rolling putts in and hitting the ball well. They always hit the ball well, but just the fact that the putts started to fall for them today and we were getting up and down, it just all came together."
Abby Pohlamp was 12th individually followed by Menghini in 17th place with a two-day 176. Izzy Olson and Ellie Bymark both fired 178s to place all six Warriors in the top 20.
This is the second straight team Person has coached to the state tournament. This past winter season he led the Warriors' adapted floor hockey team to its third straight state title.
This will also be Olson's third state appearance this school year. The eighth grader advanced to state in diving and gymnastics.
"We really want to thank Chris Foley and the Cragun's Legacy Courses staff," Person said. "We want to thank Glenn Hagberg and the staff at Madden's Resort. All of their help and support over the years has helped us get to this point."