Warriors Athlete of Week: Warriors’ Olson enjoying her last few weeks of peace and quiet
Izzy Olson has committed to dive at the United States Naval Academy, but before she leaves she's got unfinished business on the golf course.
BRAINERD -- By the time readers see this story, Izzy Olson will have 41 days before her life is turned upside down.
The Brainerd Warriors senior will head to basic training before attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She is prepared to be yelled at and exhausted with no contact from home. She’s excited to work out, take classes, do drills and be the shortest person standing at attention.
But until that or because of that, Olson is enjoying her walks in the park otherwise known as prep girls golf.
Starting last week, Olson has been on a tear on the golf course. She calls it a peaceful mindset or in Olson's terms a "Ball of joy."
“It was definitely just my mindset,” Olson said about her play last week. “I tried to make the most of every opportunity that I got. My mindset out there is that pars are good. I just shoot for par and if a birdie opportunity comes along then I take that opportunity. If I mess myself up then the best that I can try to do is par. I think that’s mostly my mindset out there.”
Olson began her week last week with a 1-under 71 May 8 at Wapicada Golf Club to win the Central Lakes Conference meet.
Olson birdied her first hole, recorded her first varsity eagle and shot a first nine 3-under 34. She got her round to 4-under with two holes left, but a bogey and a double bogey landed her at 71.
You can’t take me to a miniature golf course and expect me not to get mad if you’re beating me.
“When I shot 1-under, I started my round with a birdie and I was just like, ‘You can do it.' I just need to take advantage of these shorter courses,” Olson said. “I really don’t know what happened. Like I said, I just felt like a ball of joy these past few rounds.
“I definitely choked on my last two holes, but that eagle putt. It was like a 5-footer uphill so it was an easy eagle putt.”
Just six days earlier, Olson shot an 83 at Madden’s Pine Beach East. It was windy and cold and only her second competitive round of the season, but an 83 to a 71 is a big leap.
“I think it was the realization that it’s my senior year and who cares,” Olson said. “Go out like who cares. You’re on to different things next year and this is the last of my senior year. My summer is going to be short so I might as well make the most of what I’m doing right now.
“Leading up to last week, everything hadn’t been great, but it wasn’t bad either. When I shot 83 at Madden’s that was solely my putting. I could not putt that day. But pars. That is literally my mindset right now.”
Three days after her win at Wapicada, Olson shot a 1-over 73 with two birdies and three bogeys in another CLC meet at Pebble Lake Golf Course. She finished third to lead the Warriors to second.
In the Presection 8-3A meet Friday, May 12, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids, Olson shot an even-par 72 to push Brainerd to second again.
“That course has a lot of trees,” Olson said. “It’s very tree-lined and tight, but I just went in thinking it’s just presections. I’m leaving for the Navy in 40-some days. I’m nervous about the Navy. I’m not nervous about this golf meet. Honestly, I pulled my first drive off the tee and then went up and over the trees to about 2 feet for birdie. I just thought to myself, ‘I’m just going to be a little ball of joy out there. If a bad shot happens, it’s just going to go right over my head.'"
Olson again birdied her first hole and with back-to-back birdies on her 10th and 11th holes found herself at 3-under for the round. The senior closed out with three bogeys and seven pars for her 72.
“We’ve had some time outdoors,” Brainerd head girls’ golf coach Todd Person said. “Madden’s was one of her first rounds. The wind was whipping pretty good, but now that we’ve had a few competitive rounds under us that helps. She works hard every day on all aspects of her game. She’s not just at the driving range all day. She spends time on the greens. That helps everything come together. That and she is extremely relaxed just knowing this is a fun time for her right now.”
A week since the low scores started appearing, Olson is still firing on all cylinders as she shot a 1-under 71 in the first round of the CLC championship Monday, May 15, at Rich Spring Golf Club.
This time, Olson started with a bogey and then posted pars until consecutive birdies put her at 1-under through nine holes. This time, Olson parred out to stay under par.
“I’m feeling good,” Olson said. “I’ve done this the last four rounds. I feel good. I don’t feel like I’m playing out of my mind. I feel like I’m playing Izzy. The golf I’m playing right now would be my personality. I’m just out there. I don’t talk a lot, but when I do talk, I’m having fun.”
Person, who has watched Olson play since seventh grade, can see a different demeanor in Olson’s game. He knows golf might not be her future, but right now that’s a good thing.
“I had a conversation with Ryan Sharpe (Olson’s swing coach) earlier in the school year when she committed to go to the Navel Academy and dive and just asked him what that meant for the golf season,” Person said. “He said he didn’t think it meant anything. He said she still has a lot she wants to prove and she’ll work hard and she certainly has and has been fun to watch.
“Just watching her last week and knowing she’s going to compete with the top players and not just compete, but beat them all is just fantastic. We just need everybody to have a solid round for us and we’ll be right in the mix for that section title.”
Early last week, Olson was named to the watch list for Ms. Minnesota Golf. The award is given to the top female high school golfer in the state. It’s an award she was mistakenly up for last year as a junior, too, as it's only given to seniors.
Despite knowing where she’ll be next year and the fact that she’ll be diving instead of playing golf, Olson still wants to end her prep career on a high note.
“Because I’m leaving for the Navy soon, I know I’m going to be yelled at so I just want to take advantage of what you have right now,” Olson said. “This is my last time playing all of these courses so I’m just looking to have fun. It’s been more relaxing. I’m doing this for myself. I’m playing golf for myself and not for college coaches or whatever.
“I absolutely want to end well. I’ve always wanted to be the best in the state. I mean, I’m just a competitive person. You can’t take me to a miniature golf course and expect me not to get mad if you’re beating me. I need to do well for myself.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Sport: Girls golf
Career highlight: Finishing third in the Class 2A State diving competition last fall.
Other sports: Swimming and diving
Grade-point average: 3.952
Favorite class: Calculus
Favorite food: Shrimp tacos
Favorite movie: “The Lion King”
Favorite TV show: “The Queen’s Gambit”
Favorite musician: Danny Olson
Favorite restaurant: Main Street Ale House
Future plans: Attend the United States Navel Academy and dive
Favorite athlete: Jon Rahm
Parents: Holly and Chris Olson
Other notable performances
Josie Kappes, softball, finished 4-4 with three runs and an RBI against Blaine and was 1-1 for two walks, three runs and an RBI against Fergus Falls.
Connor Knight, boys lacrosse, scored two goals against Sartell and four against Rocori.
Breya Sawyer, girls lacrosse, finished with three goals against Sartell and two goals against Grand Rapids.
Dawson Ringler, boys golf, shot a 3-under 68 to win the Central Lakes Conference meet at Cragun’s Legacy Courses. It was Ringler’s third win of the season.
Elsa Borchert, softball, finished 4-5 with a double, two runs and the game-winning RBI against Sartell.
Mya Tautges, softball, finished 2-2 with a walk, triple, two runs and three RBIs against Fergus Falls.
Eli Owen, baseball, went 2-5 with two doubles and three RBIs, including the game-winning two-run double in the 11th against Rocori.
Isaac Hanson, baseball, pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts against Rocori.