For the first time in three years the Brainerd Warriors girls' golf team did not qualify for state tournament competition last season.
Brainerd captured the state team championship in 1999 and sent Lisa Renneke to state in 2000. Last spring, Renneke missed a state trip by a few shots.
The Warriors return five players from last year's section tournament team, including seniors Krista Parrish and Katie VandeBrake, juniors Kate Bjornson and Jenny Olson and sophomore Emily Dunphy.
Senior Tiffany Klang, another letterwinner, also returns to a team that placed ninth in the section.
Head coach -- Jean Martin, 12th year
2001 finish -- Fifth in CLC, ninth in Section 8, Class 2A
Returning golfers -- Seniors Krista Parrish, Katie VandeBrake, Tiffany Klang; juniors Kate Bjornson, Jenny Olson; sophomore Emily Dunphy.
Assistant coach -- Brian Stark.
(Meets 4 p.m. unless noted.)
16-at Little Falls
20-at Staples-Motley Inv. 8:30 a.m. (Legacy)
22-at St. Cloud Apollo
25-at Pequot Lakes Inv. 2 p.m.
26-at Pequot Lakes Inv. 8:30 a.m. (Pines)
30-BRD INV. (Pine Meadows)
2-CLASSIC INV. 3 p.m. (Madden's)
4-at Crosby-Ironton Inv. 9 a.m. (Cuyuna)
6-at Willmar Inv. 12:30 p.m.
8-at Menahga Inv. 9:30 a.m. (Blueberry Pines)
13-at St. Cloud Tech
22-Section at Menahga 9 a.m. (Blueberry Pines)
"We will look to our seasoned veterans to fill the void left by our only graduating senior, Lisa Renneke," Warriors coach Jean Martin said. "Last year, we counted on Lisa to score well in every meet, and if she scored well, so did the team.
"This year we don't have that standout golfer so they will be relying on each other in every meet. When I put six girls out there to compete, I know that all six are capable of scoring well. They know when they step on the course, they will have to count on each other to play well, and know that each shot is important."
Dunphy shot 97 in the section tournament, VandeBrake 102, Parrish 103, Olson 106 and Bjornson 116.
"Krista is in her third year of playing on the varsity," Martin said, "so we will look to her for leadership. She has the ability to play well and I hope she can finish out her senior year strong.
"Kate Bjornson, Katie VandeBrake, Emily Dunphy and Jenny Olson got their first taste of playing on the varsity last spring and now know what it takes to play at this level. There are a lot of good golfers that we play against and to compete against them they have to be on top of their game at all times. Each of them are capable of scoring in the low to mid-40s. For us to compete in the conference, with the Alexandrias and Rocoris, that is where we will have to be."
Martin said the challenge for this year's team is to be consistent.
"Coming off the winter with not much swinging it may take some time to get back to the way they were playing this summer," she said.
"One of the frustrations we have this spring is that we are practicing inside right now," Martin added. "The longer we are inside, the more crammed our season gets. We had such a great winter, weather-wise, that in January and February I thought for sure we would be outside by now. Rarely do we have a practice outside before our first meet, but I thought this would be the year.
"The spring is always so unpredictable. When we have springs like the one we are having now, we have to jam a lot of meets into a short amount of time and it takes a toll on the girls as far as keeping up with schoolwork and the fact they don't have much range practice time. They need range time early in the season to work on their games."
Martin considers Alexandria and Rocori favorites to win the conference but she isn't discounting her team's chance.
"The depth that this year's team has may give us a bit of an edge on other teams that we will compete against," she said. "We will have to play extremely well to compete with them, but I believe these girls can play to the level of these teams. That is what makes this season so exciting."
Seniors -- Greta Biersach, Katie Toumi.
Juniors -- Sarah Christensen, Katie Diiro, Megan Hanson, Kellee Meyer, Michelle Zander.
Sophomores -- Amanda Bateman, Nikki Bender, Ashlee Hoppe, Jenny Peltoma, Nikki Phillips, Allison Potvin, Ashley Ryan, Kristi Stanwood, Kimm Terrio, Jill Teufert.
Freshman -- Megan Owens.
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