When the top returning golfer is only a sophomore, and already has three years of varsity experience, a team’s future is bright.
Jenny Muesing missed qualifying for the 2011 Class 3A state tournament by just four shots and is one of nine returning letterwinners as the Warriors prepare to open the season Monday in a Central Lakes Conference meet at St. Cloud.
Last year, Muesing finished fifth in the CLC and made it to the second day of the section tournament where she finished 13th. She was the team MVP and earned All-CLC honors with an 83.25 average.
“We look for Jenny to be our top golfer again this year,” Warriors coach Brian Stark said. “She should be one of the top golfers in the section and conference, too. She continued to work very hard on her game in the offseason and was successful in many tournaments last summer. Her experience and talent will be very valuable to the varsity team.”
The list of letterwinners includes senior captains Shannon Chalupsky, Katelyn Jindra and Katie Lippo; juniors Molly Aga and Brittany Bostrom; freshmen Hannah Moen and Karlee Winkelman; and eighth-grader Emily Aga.
At the section meet, Moen shot 106, Chalupsky 111, Emily Aga 118 and Molly Aga 123.
“Shannon, Katelyn and Katie return with varsity experience,” Stark said. “Molly Aga and Brittany played a lot on the varsity team last year. Hannah Moen should also be a solid golfer for the varsity. I’ve seen some nice improvements in her game.
“It’s my hope that many of our younger and less experienced girls are able to be successful and contribute to the success of the varsity and junior varsity teams. We’ve seen some good things from these younger golfers already.”
Twelve additional candidates give Stark optimism that Brainerd can improve on last year’s fourth-place finish in the CLC and ninth-place finish in the section.
“I’m excited and look forward to another good year,” he said. “We have a number of girls who have varsity experience from last year. I’m hoping to see some improvements from individuals. This will really help our team in the conference and section.
As with the majority of other spring sports this year, the Warriors opened practice outdoors almost immediately.
“We have had a great start to the season,” Stark said. “We were able to start the first week of practice outside. That’s the first time I can remember not having to practice hitting in the gym. Last year, we were inside the first three weeks.
“We will be able to get in a number of practice rounds prior to our first meet. We have also been able to spend a lot of time working on the range, chipping and putting.”
The Warriors started practicing at Cragun’s Legacy Courses and its practice facilities.
“Thanks to Eric Peterson, Chuck Klecatsky and the Legacy staff for allowing us to use their facilities,” Stark said. “Our home courses will be Madden’s East and West. We are fortunate that Brian Thuringer, Glenn Hagberg and their staff continue to allow us the opportunity to use their facilities. Jim and Josh Dahl at Eagle’s Landing have also been very supportive of our program. We’ve been able to use their course and facilities the early part of our season.
“We are so lucky that we have such supportive and quality courses to use.”
The conference schedule consists of five 18-hole CLC meets and a conference championship meet.
“Alexandria, St. Cloud Apollo and Tech should be the preseason favorites in the conference,” Stark said. “We’re hoping we can finish near the top of the conference again and are able to compete with those teams.
“We are also playing in eight invites and continue to co-host the Preserve/Pines Invite with Pequot Lakes (April 20-21). We are fortunate that Jack Wawro and his staff at Grand View are supportive of our program and allow us the opportunity to host this invitational and also use their courses for practice.”
Brainerd again will play in Section 8-3A with Alexandria, Big Lake, Buffalo, Bemidji, Monticello, Moorhead, Tech, Apollo, Sartell, and Sauk Rapids. The section meet will be June 4-5 at Long Prairie Golf Club.
“We play in one of the toughest sections in the state,” Stark said. “The preseason favorite should be Apollo, the section champion last year. We hope to do better this year as a team at the section meet.”
Seniors: Shannon Chalupsky, Katelyn Jindra, Katie Lippo, Luba Wiander
Juniors: Molly Aga, Brittany Bostrom
Sophomores: Jenny Muesing, Annie Bertram, Tiffani Dewey
Freshmen: Hannah Moen, Karlee Winkelman, Caitlin Steffen, Alexandra Exum, Bailey Hastings, Delaney Kennedy, Cassandra Kendall, Shayla Metz, Sarah Pohlkamp
Eighth-graders: Emily Aga, Rachel Cleveland, Malyk Edwards