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Laker dynasty cemented with third-straight state championship

The Detroit Lakes, Minn., Laker girl's golf team of Sydney Busker, Emma Thompson, Natalie Roth, Trisa Hutchinson, Matty Tschider and Kate Smith take the tradional leap into a pond following their Minnesota Class 2-A state championship win Wednesday at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The team shot an all-time low state score of 590 over the two-day tournament. Radio personality Andy Lia, left, also made the jump with the team. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers1 / 5
Detroit Lakes, Minn., golfer Kate Smith rolls in a short birdie putt on the par five seventh hole at the Ridges at Sand Creek during Wednesday's second round of the MSHSL class 2-A state golf meet. Smith shot a two-day total of 143 to tie for the individual state championship with Maggie Heggerston of Pequot Lakes. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers2 / 5
Detroit Lakes, Minn., girls golfers Natalie Roth, Kate Smith, Matty Tschider and Emma Thompson have a laugh together as they reflect on their second round at the MSHSL state golf meet in Jordan, Minn., Wednesday afternoon as they waited for the rest of their team to finish. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers 3 / 5
The Detroit Lakes, Minn., Laker girls golf team of Kate Smith, Emma Thompson, Natalie Roth, Trisa Hutchinson, Matty Tschider and Sydney Busker won the 2014 Minnesota class 2-A state championship with a two-day total score of 590. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers4 / 5
Laker golfer Trisa Hutchinson watches her approach to the 14th green during Wednesday's second round of the MSHSL class 2-A state golf meet in Jordan. She carded a two-day score of 147 to take third place individually. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers5 / 5

The fairy tale in which was the Detroit Lakes girls’ golf season, came to a conclusion Wednesday with the Lakers clinching their third-straight Class 2A state championship at the Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan.

Four seniors played their last round as Lakers and they made it count, as DL shot a second-day score of 297, which went with their one-day state meet record 293 Tuesday for an all-time low two-day state meet score of 590.

It was 20 strokes better than Minnewaska’s 610, which was set in 2009.

“No one could have written a better script than this,” said DL head coach Cali Harrier, speaking of the three-year run the team put on. “This team didn’t leave any business unfinished. Nothing is left on the table for them to accomplish.”

But one run is not finished, as sophomore Kate Smith won her third-straight Class 2A state medalist honor, tying with Pequot Lakes junior Maggie Heggerston with a one-under par 143.

Both players shot identical two-day scores of 73 and 70, as Smith rallied early with a 34 on the front nine, while Heggerston waited until the back nine and stroked back-to-back birdies on holes 16 and 17 to finish two-under par.

“I really felt I had to break 70 today because there were some very good players and scores out there today,” Smith said. “So I just went out and tried to make as many birdies as I could. I had to use my willpower and putt better.”

Smith, who co-medaled last year with teammate Natalie Roth, also had a strong finish after she went on a birdie fest on holes five through seven, then finished her last three holes as birdie-par-birdie.

Heggerston, who finished fifth overall in last year’s state meet, didn’t realize how close she was heading up the 18th fairway, even after making her two birdies on 16 and 17.

“I had no idea where I was at in the standings,” Heggerston said. “After I finished 18, I had a feeling I had lost. I finished one over on the front nine, and all I wanted to do was stay even on the back nine, because that back nine can make or break you.”

But for Smith, the high expectations thrust on her after she became the youngest ever state champion as an eighth grader two years ago, built up some high pressure.

“It is a relief, I put pressure on myself to win,” Smith said. “It’s great to get it over with.”

The podium was filled with Lakers, as four made all-state honors by finishing in the top seven.

Senior Trisa Hutchinson finished as an all-stater for the third-consecutive year and her highest place of third, after she shot a 73-74 for a final mark of 147.

“I came out strong, but towards the end I gave away a couple of shots,” Hutchinson said. “But I know I’ve come a long way the last five years.”

Last year’s co-medalist Roth had a strong back nine score of 35 to finish fifth overall with a mark of 150, after shooting a 75 Tuesday.

“Going in the back nine, I knew I had to do well if I was to place,” Roth said. “There are some good opportunities there to score on and I thought I did well by making three birdies.

“Obviously, I was taking one shot at a time like I always do. I went into this round with a little different mindset. I didn’t want to count myself out, but I just wanted to have fun, since this was my last time being a Laker.”

The first-day leader, junior Sydney Busker, also placed sixth overall, after she followed up her even-par 72 from Tuesday with an 80 in the final round for a 154.

Seniors Matty Tschider and Emma Thompson also capped fabulous prep careers as main contributors to the team. Tschider stroked a 155 and Thompson a 163, for ninth and 20th place, respectively.

As Busker dropped in her last putt on the 18th green, thus signifying the end to the four seniors’ careers, there will be some big footprints left by this Laker team in the state of girls’ golf.

The dynasty which was built over the course of the last three years, will leave with a trio of state team championships, four state individual titles, as well as the holding of a bevy of records, including the all-time state record of 284, the one-day state meet record of 293 and the two-day state meet mark of 590.

They now hold the top three low scores in the state meet with a pair of 297’s and a 293.

Add in a 39-meet winning streak, there isn’t much this Laker six didn’t accomplish.

“It’s always hard to say goodbye,” Hutchinson said. “But when you look back, we’ve had a good run and it couldn’t have gone any better. No one can take those memories away from us.”

All four seniors have committed to playing college golf starting this fall, with Hutchinson and Roth heading to North Dakota State University, Tschider to Augustana and Thompson to Jamestown College.

The legacy they are leaving will not be matched any time soon.

“These girls are amazing, this team is one to remember,” Smith said. “They have done everything for our team. I was 11 years old when I first started on varsity and they were my partial mother on the road. They set a precedent of what Laker golf should be.”

Class 2A state girls’ golf meet at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan, Tuesday-Wednesday, June 10-11

Girls team scores:

  1. Detroit Lakes 590
  2. Pequot Lakes 648
  3. Red Wing 650
  4. Minnewaska Area 687
  5. Osakis 717
  6. Visitation-Mendota Heights 733
  7. Jordan 738
  8. Breck School, Golden Valley 748

Top 21 Individual scores:

T-1 Kate Smith, Detroit Lakes 143

T-1 Maggie Heggerston, Pequot Lakes 143

3. Trisa Hutchinson, Detroit Lakes 147

4. Anni Heck, Visitation-MH 149

5. Natalie Roth, Detroit Lakes 150

6. Sydney Busker, Detroit Lakes, 152

T-7. Trianna Thong, Jordan 154

T-7. Marja Sorenson, Rocori-CS 154

T-9. Emily Israelson, Staples-Motley 155

T-9. Mattie Tschider, Detroit Lakes 155

T-9. Stephanie Herzog, Red Wing 155

T-12. Emily Schimbeno, Lake City 158

T-12. Alayna Eldred, Osakis 158

T-14. Nicole Schammel, Red Wing 159

T-14: Emma Groom, St. Croix Lutheran 159

T-16. Jenna Janu, Minnewaska 160

T-16. Hannah Peterson, Marshall 160

18. Mackenzie Olsen, Stewartville 161

19. Amanda Nies, Pequot Lakes 162

20. Emma Thompson, Detroit Lakes 163

21. Rebecca Huus, Perham, 165

DL results: Kate Smith 37-36 34-36 143; Trisa Hutchinson 35-38 37-37 147; Natalie Roth 38-37 40-35 150; Sydney Busker 36-36 40-40 154; Matty Tschider 40-36 40-39 155; Emma Thompson 42-43 40-38 163

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.