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Litchfield one stroke short of making state

Kalli Swanson of Litchfield pitches to the 10th green at Eagle Creek in the Section 3AA meet Friday in Willmar. The Dragons senior earned medalist honors with an 86. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton1 / 2
Abby Fragodt of Benson/KMS watched her drive on No. 11 on Friday morning at Eagle Creek. The Braves' junior shot 89, fourth best in the meet, to reach the state meet June 3-4 in Jordan. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton2 / 2

WILLMAR -- The Litchfield Dragons had mixed results Friday in the girls division of the Section 3AA golf tournament at Eagle Creek Golf Club.

Kalli Swanson shot an 86 to earn the first-place medal and junior teammate Katlyn Kiehn a 90 to also medal. Both earned a trip to the state meet.

But the Dragons missed by only one stroke of advancing to the state meet as a team.

Jackson County Central shaded the defending section champions by a single stroke, 365-366.

Abby Fragodt, a Benson/KMS junior, punched her ticket with an 89, the day's fourth-best score.

Fragodt also went to state last year when she won a three-way playoff.

"I think this was harder this time," she said. "Last year, it was only my second year of golf and there was no pressure, really. This year my family kind of expected me to go."

Her classmate at Benson, Lauren Alsaker, also makes it to state after shooting a 91. It will be her first trip after coming close last year.

JCC had a two-stroke lead on the Dragons after nine holes. Kiehn had the best back nine on the team shooting a 44.

Swanson couldn't find her stroke on her opening nine, which began for the girls on No. 10. She stumbled to a 47.

"I knew I had to do better on the front," she said. "I just relaxed and things went well."

Swanson's 39 on the front proved the best nine of the tournament. She narrowly missed a birdie putt on No. 9, her final hole.

Her 39-47-86 was one better than freshman Kaylee Benson of JCC. Her 87, shot from the foursome of No. 5s, made her the Huskies' hero.

JCC's No. 1 Emily Marker fired an 88. She played in the day's final foursome with Swanson, Fragodt and Marshall's Olivia Bennett.

Litchfield coach Bill Huhner was philosophical over the one-stroke loss.

"Any golfer knows, looking back, where he or she could have saved a stroke," he said. "As coaches, we preach pitch and putt. Don't waste strokes around the green."

Among the individual qualifiers, Courtney Knutson, Yellow Medicine junior, finished with a 93, tied for ninth overall. Chloe Altmann, BOLD freshman, came in at 98.

Besides the winning team, the top five individual scores, excluding any members of the first-place team, advance to the state meet.

The meet runs June 3-4 in Jordan at the Ridges at Sand Creek.

Team scoring

(1) Jackson County Central 365 (2) Litchfield 366 (3) Marshall 385 (4) Benson/KMS 393

State qualifiers

Kalli Swanson, Litchfield, 86; Abbie Fragodt, Benson/KMS, 88, Katlyn Kiehn, Litchfield, 90; Stephanie Noyes, Marshall, 91; Lauren Alsaker, BKMS, 91

Area results

BENSON/KMS - Abby Fragodt 89, Lauren Alsaker 91, Elizabeth Ness 102, Rachel Bausman 111, Morgan DeHaan 125, Leah Miller 129

LITCHFIELD - Kalli Swanson 86, Kayla Sommerfield 90, Kristie Solbrack 94, Aubree Zuehl 96, Kayla Sommerfeld 98, Ellie Black 101

Area Individuals

Courtney Knutson Yellow Medicine East, 93; Chloe Altmann, BOLD, 98; Kalyn Gloege, Lac qui Parle Valley, 99; Katie Wick, BOLD, 102; Bailey Koster, Redwood Valley, 104; Jennifer Kack, Lac qui Parle Valley, 105; Nicole Strei, Montevideo, 111; Emily Gobernatz, New London-Spicer, 112; Cierra Baumgartner, BOLD, 123

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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