JORDAN -- It didn't come as easy as it has in past years, but Minnewaska Area is just as happy with a 15-shot victory in the state girls' golf tournament as it was when winning by 67 shots last season.
The Lakers held off a stiff challenge from Red Wing and prevailed 632-647 in the Class AA tournament at Ridges of Sand Creek. Minnewaska led by 14 shots after the Wednesday's first day of competition before Red Wing mounted a strong comeback in high winds. It was a state-record fifth straight championship for the Lakers, the first two in Class A and the last three in AA. No other girls team in the state has one more than three.
Sarah Roering, a senior who won the Class AA individual title as a sophomore, was co-medalist with teammate Allie Ostrander, a senior who had been second each of the past two years. Both carded a 150 and each managed two birdies under adverse conditions.
"The winds were really bad," said Roering, who was fourth last year as a junior while her older sister, Emily, won the title in her senior year. "I had to try to keep the ball low all the time and I usually always hit the ball high. It took me a few holes to adjust."
Ostrander was relieved the team held off Red Wing and also relieved to have finished her career without having to be a bridesmaid three straight years.
"I knew it was going to be close when I finished up," said Ostrander. "And then when I found out, it was pretty exciting. It's a nice way to end my senior year."
After shooting a 305 on Wednesday, Minnewaska shot 327 on Thursday to finish with a 632. Red Wing shot 319 in the first round and finished up with a 328 for a two-day 647. Those two were well ahead of third-place finisher Detroit Lakes, which came in with a 726. Following Roering and Ostrander was junior Sam Falk, who finished sixth with a 161, and sophomore Brianna Janu in a tie for 18th place with a 171. Alex Guggisberg, a freshman, tied for 32nd place with a 178 and Jenna Janu, a seventh-grader, was tied for 35th with a 179.
"We actually shot one stroke better this year on the first day than we did last year," said Roering. "But Red Wing improved so much and really played well. Our goal all year was to win number five. It wasn't as easy as last year, but we did it."
The high winds played a major factor in keeping Red Wing within range. One of Minnewaska's strength is its ability to outdrive most teams. But with the swirling winds and gusts up to 35 miles per hour forced the Lakers to alter their tee shots with shorter and lower drives and then try to hold off the enemy with their irons and putting.
"The wind was blowing a different direction on every hole it seemed," said Ostrander. "It was swirling all the time. You had to look at the tops of the trees and adjust to which way the wind was blowing."
Minnewaska coach Peggy Falk knows next season won't be easy to keep the string of titles going. With Red Wing returning four of its top five golfers, and Detroit Lakes expected to be greatly improved, the Lakers will have their work cut out for them again.
"We're going to have a few new golfers join the varsity that are good players," said Falk. "And we have some very good golfers coming back. It's not going to be easy. But the girls always work hard and play a lot of golf so we'll see what happens."
The number of shots they won by this year makes little difference to the Lakers. The only numbers that matter to them is one and five ... the place they finished and the numbers of championship they have won.
Among other Class AA girls individuals, Litchfield's Kristin Solbrack, a junior, shot a 91 Thursday to finish with a 182. She tied with BOLD sophomore Chloe Altmann, who shot an 87 to finish with a 182 for 42nd place.
Lauren Alsaker, a senior from Benson/KMS, shot a 98 Thursday and was 56th with a 191. She tied for 62nd last year.
(1) Minnewaska 305-327-632 (2) Red Wing 319-328-647 (3) Detroit Lakes 353-373-726 (4) Albany 370-375-745 (5) Hermantown 381-384-765 (6) Becker 394-391-785 (7) Visitation 404-406-810 (8) Mankato East 401-411-812
1. Sarah Roering, Min. 71-79-150
Allie Ostrander, Min. 73-77-150
6. Sam Falk, Min. 80-81-161
18. (tie) Brianna Janu, Min. 81-90-171
32. (tie) Alex Guggisberg, Min. 88-90-178
35. (tie) Jenna Janu, Min. 82-87-179
42. Kristin Solbrack, Lit. 91-91-182
Chloe Altmann, BOLD 95-87-182
56. Lauren Alsaker, Benson/KMS 93-98-191