The road to the Class 2A state championship is likely to go through Glenwood again this week.
Minnewaska has won five straight titles, including Class 1A titles in 2006 and 2007 in the two-class format, and Class 2A honors in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In addition, four of the six Lakers return from the 2010 squad, including senior Sam Falk, who placed sixth individually.
The youthful Pequot Lakes Patriots, who have no seniors, are aiming for a high finish. Pequot is making its first trip to state since 2004 when the Patriots won the 1A state title in a two-class system.
“With our girls, who knows?” Patriots coach Jon Dale said. “If they all play well, on any given day, we might be top three.”
Pequot is led by sophomore Savannah Stone, who tied Staples-Motley’s Emily Israelson for Section 6-2A medalist honors. Eighth-grader Maggie Heggerston finished two shots behind Stone and tied for section runner-up honors.
Junior Erika Schwalbe and eighth-grader Samantha Olmscheid were the Patriots’ third and fourth golfers in the section. Eighth-grader Megan Snyder and seventh-grader Amanda Nies round out the Patriots’ state squad.
“I would love to see Maggie and Savannah top their career bests, which was in the section finals,” Dale said. “Obviously, if they shoot something like that, or match that score ... Good things could happen.
“Erika can be right there too. She played a practice tournament at the Pines the day before the section finals and shot 82, so she’s capable of low 80s, maybe even high 70s.
“Our top three girls are pretty legit. Our 4-5-6, between all three of them, if someone can have a nice round and get low 90s we could have a chance.”
Dale said whatever happens state experience can’t do anything but benefit the Patriots next year when they all return.
“We’ll just go down there and do the best we can,” he said. “We will have everyone back next year. Erika and Savannah are more veteran leaders. They keep the kids calm. They just have fun. They’re not worried about it. We’ll go down there, have fun, play the best we can and see what happens.”
Israelson is the only area individual girls qualifier. She tied for 32nd at state last year.
“It’s her second trip, so it’s going to be that much easier for her,” S-M coach Glen Hasselberg said. “She’s a very strong player. We’re looking for a good tournament out of her.”
Israelson’s teammate, Kristin Schneider, a foreign exchange student from Germany, qualified for state but will not play. Her family had planned a year ago to pick her up and embark on a trip Tuesday.
“She’s been a nice addition,” Hasselberg said. “She did a great job for us. “We’re happy for her, and understanding of her decision.”
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.