Despite the graduation of state qualifier Molly Hoppe the Brainerd Warriors return a wealth of experience.
Six letterwinners from last year’s team return to form a young squad that will be led by freshman Jenny Muesing.
The two-year letterwinner earned All-Central Lakes Conference honors last season by finishing fourth overall and advanced to the second round of the Section 8-3A tournament.
Warriors co-head coach Brian Stark is hoping for similar results from her this year.
“She should be one of the top golfers in the section and conference this year, too,” said Stark. “She has worked very hard on her game and was successful in many tournaments last summer and during the winter.
“Her experience and talent will be very valuable to the varsity team.”
Stark and the Warriors will also lean on three junior captains in Shannon Chalupsky, Katelyn Jindra and Katie Lippo. All three return from last year’s team that finished fourth in the conference and sixth in the section.
Also back are sophomores Brittany Bostrom and Molly Aga.
“We are hoping that we finish near the top of the conference again,” said Stark. “We are also playing in eight invites and continue to co-host the Preserve/Pines Invite with Pequot Lakes at Grand View Lodge. We are very fortunate that Jack Wawro and his staff at Grand View are supportive of our program and allow us the opportunity to host this invite and also use their courses for practice.”
The conference and section favorite will be defending Class 3A state champion Alexandria, but Stark is hoping for good things in this year’s section tournament.
He’s also hoping some of the younger players can push the veterans for spots on the varsity or junior varsity.
Those players include senior captain Grace Larson, freshmen Annie Bertram and Tiffani Dewey and eighth-graders Caitlin Steffen, Alexandra Exum, Delaney Kennedy, Cassandra Kendall, Hannah Moen and Karlee Winkelman.
“We are pleased to see the increased number of girls in the younger grades,” said Stark. “Thanks to Chris Foley, a junior high community education program was offered last spring. Many of the younger girls were in that program. This spring there will also be a 6-8 grade middle level program for less experienced players.
“The current girls work hard and have already developed some good team chemistry.”
This also marks the first year that Stark will share his head coaching position with former assistant coach Bob Gessell. The job sharing was made to create a spot for junior varsity coach Marcus Aulie.
Brainerd will use Madden’s East and West as its home courses with help from Eagles Landing and Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
“We are very fortunate that Brian Thuringer, Glenn Hagberg and their staff have allowed us the opportunity to use their facilities,” said Stark. “It’s a great facility for our program. We are so lucky that we have such supportive and quality courses to use.”
Seniors: Grace Larson
Juniors: Shannon Chalupsky, Katelyn Jindra, Katie Lippo
Sophomores: Molly Aga, Brittany Bostrom
Freshmen: Jenny Muesing, Annie Bertram, Tiffani Dewey
Eighth-graders: Catilin Steffen, Alexandra Exum, Delaney Kennedy, Cassandra Kendall, Hannah Moen, Karlee Winkelman
Seventh-graders: Ashley Fitterer, Rachel Cleveland, Emily Aga, Nicole Urban, Lydia Larson, Madeline Simpson
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.