Warriors Athlete of Week: Ringler ready to wrangle trip to state

Dawson Ringler is coming off consecutive first-place finishes.

Brainerd's Dawson Ringler tees off Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at Cragun's Legacy Courses.
Brainerd's Dawson Ringler tees off Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at Cragun's Legacy Courses.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD -- A series of small goals has led to big results for Dawson Ringler.

The senior for the Brainerd Warriors boys’ golf team is coming off back-to-back individual medalists, including a two-day Northern Invite title, where his 146 led Brainerd to the team title by 15 strokes.

Ringler fired consecutive 73s at Virginia Golf Course for his 146. In the first round, Friday, May 5, Ringler opened with a front-nine 38. He carded two bogeys, a birdie and a double. His double bogey was followed by nine pars and another birdie on the 523-yard par 5 13th hole.

“He really never got himself into any kind of trouble,” Brainerd head coach Brian Wallace said. “He struck the ball really well. He sort of played a boring round and he never got worked up about anything. We’ve talked about how the mental side of things can control your outcome and he just has control of that right now.

“I think a big difference for him and his success so far this year has been the fact that he isn’t watching the leaderboard. With our new way of scoring, the kids can choose to look at the leaderboard if they want. Last year, I think that worked him up more than anything and this year he’s not looking at it at all. I think that’s making a difference for him.”


Ringler’s second round Saturday, May 6, was similar to his first. He shot a front nine 36 with two bogeys and a birdie. He opened the back nine with another double bogey, but again followed it with seven pars and a birdie on the 483-yard par 5 17th.

“I’m just trying to play hole by hole,” Ringler said. “What I do is I set little goals for myself throughout the round. Whether it’s just hit the fairway here or hit the green there. I just try to set goals for myself. I don’t like to think about a target score at the end of the day or the end of the round. The way I get to those scores is I just set little goals for myself and that ends up propelling me to the scores that I’m getting.”

It’s really driven me to get better and improve in every aspect.
Dawson Ringler

Those back-to-back 73s followed Ringler’s first under-par round of his prep career Wednesday, May 3, at Cragun’s Legacy Courses. Brainerd tied for third with a 303, but it was Ringler’s 1-under 70 that paced the field.

The varsity veteran shot an even-par 36 on the front and a 1-under 34 on the back. He opened with a birdie, but gave up two shots with a double bogey on the third hole. That was followed by two straight birdies. Ringler finished with five birdies on the round.

“Again, his body language is kind of funny because it looks like he’s out for a Sunday walk and not very intense about anything,” Wallace said. “He just walks up and makes his next shot. He’s striking the ball so well that he can relax and let his skill take over. That’s what happened this week in both of those events. It was really fun to see him reach that point.”

Wallace and Ringler talked about that point where every round Ringer competes in could be and maybe should be around or below par.

“The last two events built a lot of confidence because it shows that I can do it,” Ringler said. “And I can do it on a consistent basis. My coach was asking me, ‘Why not make this a normal thing to happen?’ And I was like, ‘You’re right. Why can’t this be normal? Why can’t I do this every time? Going into the Northern Invite I just asked myself ‘Why can’t I do that every time? Why can’t that be the bar I set for myself?’”

One reason low scores could be Ringler’s norm is his putting. He said his mental game has been his biggest improvement, but he's also seeing improved results with his putter. And while it’s not always successful, the results have been consistent. He’s not blowing putts past the whole 4 or 5 feet. Instead, if the ball doesn’t find the bottom of the cup, it’s within tap-in range.


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But Ringler is very excited with his mental approach this season.

“I think it’s really important,” Ringler said. “I think golf is a sport where you can’t let one shot or one hole affect you. If you have a bad hole or a bad break, you just have to bounce back from it. If you let it ponder or you sit on and you get mad about it, it’s not going to make you play any better. Having a bad hole like that, I just try and fight back and get that stroke back as soon as possible.

“I’ll admit that last year I used to look at the leaderboard throughout the round. This year, I’ve just completely stopped looking at that. I used to let things affect me like bad shots or bad holes. This year, I’m just not. I feel really level-headed throughout the entire round. I don’t let something stick with me. I just focus hole to hole.”

Ringer’s biggest motivating factor is what happened at the end of his junior year. Ringler was in contention to make it to state. Not only as an individual, but he had a chance to lead Brainerd to its first state tournament appearance. With four holes remaining, Ringler faltered down the stretch.

“It’s been my biggest motivator,” Ringler said. “All winter, all last summer and this past fall, every time I don’t really feel like going to practice I just remind myself about sections last year and how close I was and how close we were as a team to doing something we haven’t done. I take great responsibility for how we came up short. I don’t let myself forget it. My teammates tell me it’s not my fault, but I feel like it was. It’s really driven me to get better and improve in every aspect.”

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

Dawson Ringler

Dawson Ringler
Dawson Ringler
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Sport: Boys’ golf

Year: Senior


Age: 18

Height: 6-foot-3

Career highlight: Winning the 2021 St. Cloud Invite

Other sports: Basketball

Grade-point average: 3.0

Favorite class: Gym

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: “Space Jam”


Favorite TV show: “South Park”

Favorite musician: Rod Wave

Favorite restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings

Future plans: Attend the University of Nebraska for PGA golf management program

Favorite athlete: Rory Mcllroy

Parents: Todd and Misty Ringler

Other notable performances

Brandon Stark, boys’ track and field, won the 400-meter dash and was part of a meet-record 800-meter sprint medley relay team at the Wayzata Relays.


Dylan Gross, boys’ track and field, won the shot put at the Wayzata Relays and at the Sartell Tri.

Brenna Deason, girls’ track and field, won the 100-meter dash with a meet-record time and placed second in the pole vault. She won the 100 and 200 dashes and pole vault at the Sartell Tri.

Molly Wieland, softball, finished 4-5 with a double and five RBIs against Champlin Park.

Liam Luther, boys’ lacrosse, finished with 31 saves against Chisago Lakes.

Autumn Larson, softball, finished 2-2 with two doubles and four RBIs against Bemidji.

Maren Ceynowa, softball, finished 4-5 with four RBIs and four runs scored against Bemidji. She added three hits and three RBIs against Sauk Rapids.

Breya Sawyer, girls’ lacrosse, finished with five goals and two assists against Becker.

Isaak Malay, boys’ track and field, won the 100 and 200 dashes at the Sartell Tri and was part of a meet-record 800-meter sprint medley relay at the Wayzata Relays.


Jonathan Benson, baseball, finished 8-for-11 with a home run, three doubles, five RBIs and four hit-by-pitch plate appearances.

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