DETROIT LAKES GIRLS GOLF PREVIEW: Taking silver, now wanting gold
The hunger has grown for the Detroit Lakes girls' golf team after their Class 2A runner-up finish in last year's state tournament in Jordan.
Knowing they have all the players back from that silver-placing team makes the hunger a little bit more ravenous, as well.
"The confidence is high on the team," said DL head coach Cali Harrier. "The players have the desire and will to make anything happen. They really want it."
The Lakers have a few other goals in mind, as well, and one of them is 318.
That's the team score the Lakers achieved as an all-time low last year at their own invite. It's a score DL wants to make lower and with the talent and motivation behind the team, it's very realistic.
"The girls know it's possible to get back to 318 or lower," Harrier said.
The experience of leading the state tournament after the first round also added to DL's confidence. They shot a 329 in that first round and finished with a 658, as Red Wing ran away with the state title with a 641.
But that successful state experience alone can go a long way, and the DL golfers want to capitalize on that.
"You can really tell our girls matured a lot after that first day," the DL coach commented. "It was big."
The Lakers will have some valuable senior leadership in four-year starter Courtney Hedstrom.
She returns with plenty of varsity seasoning, with her leadership skills increasing twofold over the course of the Laker girls' basketball season.
Also returning is three-year starter freshman Trisa Hutchinson, who has been a varsity golfer since her seventh grade year.
Eighth grader Kate Smith will give the Lakers that elite golfer, after she made her debut in the state tournament last year and finished fifth with a 159.
Add to that the fact she played 29 competitive meets last summer, and Smith is setting herself up to have another breakout season, as just an eighth grader.
"It was Kate's first time at state last year and with more time on the golf course for her, she is only getting better," Harrier said. "Trisa's goal is to place at state. She changed her swing a little and her strength is really showing through now."
The Lakers are still young, but very experienced, as sophomore Matty Tschider returns with multiple varsity seasons under her belt, along with sophomore Natalie Roth, freshman Sydney Busker and sophomore Emma Thompson.
Many of the golfers hit for milestones last season by consistently breaking the 90 barrier.
This year, Harrier upped the ante, since once again, there are seven golfers vying for six starting slots.
"I said last year, to keep your spot, you have to break 90," she said. "This year, I told them they need to break 85 and they all agreed and are looking forward to that challenge."
With higher expectations, pressure is added to perform. But as of now, Harrier said the team is ready for the season to start.
"We'll have to wait and see where we are when we start competing, but they are all pretty relaxed and having fun," she said.
The schedule has become a little more challenging, as well, with trips planned to Becker for the season opener April 12, and to Alexandria, Red Wing and St. Cloud, where they won the meet in 2011.
They also have a meet in Jordan at Ridges at Sand Creek, the site of the Class 2A state tournament and the destination they want to be playing at come June 10-11.
The 2012 Detroit Lakes girls' golf schedule:
12 at Becker
16 at Irondale
20-21 at Jordan
25 at Alexandria
27 at Bemidji
28 at Grand Rapids
30 at Park Rapids
3 at Wadena-Deer Creek
5 at Alexandria
8 at Red Wing
12 at Staples-Motley
14 at Pequot Lakes
17 at St. Cloud
22 DL Invite
30 Sub-Section at Park Rapids
4 Section at Walker
10-11 State Tournament at Jordan.