For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Detroit Lakes girls golf team captured the Minnesota Class AA state championship breaking open a tight race to win by 26 strokes Wednesday, June 13 at Ridges at Sand Creek golf course in Jordan.
“I’m glad we got the championship, that’s all I can ask for,” said departing senior Maddie Herzog. “I’m glad the team played well and couldn’t be happier.”
Herzog has watched the likes of Kate Smith and Abby Schramel finish their senior seasons in Jordan the past two years and was relieved to be able to do the same as the Lakers won for the third straight year and seventh time in 11 overall appearances.
“I made that last putt and I was just kind of wow, I”m done; this is it,” Herzog said.
Three Lakers reached the individual championship podium. Herzog placed eighth with a two-round score of 155. The sophomore duo of Shelby Busker and Anna Cihak finished higher on the podium giving Herzog more relief to know the dynasty is in good hands.
“I’m incredibly happy for them,” she said. “ I’m overjoyed. It just proves that they’ll be able to do it again next year. I’m just super excited for them.”
Busker placed third overall with a score of 148 behind the superb play of the Red Wing tandem of Sophia Yoemans (129) and Leah Herzog (137).
“It was a little bit of a surprise;” said Busker. “I was really hoping to make the podium again, but being that high up felt really good.”
Yoemans score of 129 broke Kate Smith’s MSHSL record of 139 set in 2016 by a surprising 10 strokes. Runner-up Leah Herzog’s score also beat the mark of Smith, the five-time state champion.
Busker played consistently down the fairways and stayed out of trouble to polish off her best finish at state with two years of eligibility remaining.
“She’s just an amazing player,” Cihak said. “She’s so consistent and if she has one bad shot she forgets about it.”
“Tee to green, Shelby was just incredible,” DL head coach Kris Smith said. “She was machine-like out there.”
Cihak has blossomed in her short time with the program and played the final round with Yoemans in the last group as DL’s number one golfer after the first day of play. She placed sixth overall with a score of 152.
“We were just playing even and had a few bad holes here and there, but we just kept it together,” Busker said.
Cihak recalled being the youngest player on the team in her first year two seasons ago and was quick to congratulate DL newcomers Evan Westrum and McKenna Burhans after their rounds.
“Evan came out with a nice score of 45 on the front; that was really awesome,” said Cihak. “Both of them finished under 100 which is amazing because all year they were shooting low hundreds. Coming out and shooting 90s makes them want to work harder. After my eighth grade year when we won state, I definitely didn’t count but it made me want to work harder toward getting another one.”
McKenna Mallow, an equally important player in the No. 4 spot all season, placed 51st with a score of 183 giving DL three returning starters with multiple years of state experience and two rookies to build around
The starting foursome got into the groove at the turn with Cihak thriving in the anchor position, Busker at two and the experienced Herzog in the three spot creating some breathing room for their head coach.
“It feels good, maybe I’m just relieved,” Smith said. “I was getting relaxed on the back side when I heard we were up by 14 strokes. It looked easy at the end on the scoreboard.”
Marshall (664) placed second behind the Lakers (638) in the team standings with Yoemans, Leah Herzog and the Wingers finishing third one stroke back with a score of 665. Red Wing was the only team to interrupt the Lakers’ streak at state winning the title in 2015.
Minnesota State Class AA State Championship
1 Detroit Lakes 638, 2 Marshall 664, 3 Red Wing 665, 4 Visitation 681, 5 International Falls 687, 6 Breck School 698, 7 Jordan 720, 8 Osakis 774.
1 Sophia Yoemans, Red Wing 129
2 Leah Herzog, Red Wing 137
3 Shelby Busker, Detroit Lakes 148
4 Madi McGinty, Minnewaska Area 150
5 Ally Tiedemann, Crookston 151
6 Anna Cihak, Detroit Lakes 152
7 Ava Wallerich Lake City 153
8 Maddie Herzog, Detroit Lakes 155
51 McKenna Mallow, Detroit Lakes 183
70 Evan Westrum, Detroit Lakes 199
78 McKenna Burhans, Detroit Lakes 206