Despite the warm weather Tuesday, the Brainerd Warriors girls' golf team played cold at the Pine Meadows golf course in Baxter.
The Warriors finished tied with Sartell for fourth place with 185 strokes. Central Lakes Conference favorite Rocori won the match with 163 and Alexandria, paced by individual medalist Lindsay Skramstad, who shot a one-over par 37, took second.
One reason for the sub-par play by Brainerd might be the pressure to continually defend the Warriors' state championship crown.
"There is a little (pressure) just because there is more depending on us three returning from state and that puts pressure on me," said C.C. Meidinger who shot a 45. "I feel like I must do this or I have to do this plus I'm playing next year at college (Winona State) so I want to show my coach that I can play."
Laura Furda, a senior on the Brainerd High School girls' golf team, reacted to a missed putt on the second hole during the Warriors' home opener Tuesday at Pine Meadows. (Dispatch Photo by Clint Wood)
Last year the Warriors came out of nowhere to surprise everyone and take the Class AA state title, but this year the road is seems to be filled with potholes as they won't surprise anyone.
"This summer I took everything a lot more seriously," said junior Lisa Renneke who shot a 48. "I think last year kind of opened our eyes to let us know that we need to improve our games to make sure that we reach the level that we did last year."
Seniors Amanda Christensen, Laura Furda and sophomore Krista Parrish are the new faces for Brainerd this year and they also feel the pressure of being a target.
"Sure I feel the pressure," said Furda who shot a 50. "I feel pressure because I've never been on the varsity team before. So there is that pressure but it's not bad."
Last year Brainerd's team unity was well storied as all six girls played together since junior high, but this team's unity is also comparable.
"There is team unity," said Christensen who shot a 53. "We keep each other's spirits up the best we can and try and help each other out any way we can.
"We all have to work together and not let one or two bad rounds get us down in order to get back to state."
Even though she's the youngest of the group, Parrish feels like one of the girls and actually feels little pressure while competing on the varsity.
"This is only my second meet so I feel pressure there, but I don't feel like a returning state champion because I wasn't part of that team," said Parrish. "For the other girls there is though." Brainerd had 13 more strokes from last Thursday's conference meet in Cold Spring and moved 5 1/2 points behind Rocori in the conference standings. One consistent is Marni Lundbohm who once again led the team.
"We have to try and not even think about it," said Lundbohm who shot a 44. "A lot of people say different things either positively or negatively and I just try and put it out of my mind and just remember this is a whole new year and nothing's happened yet.
"Our coach has really helped us with the pressure. She hasn't put any on us. She doesn't bring back any of the past, it's just right here, right now, do what you have to do."
Martin said she doesn't spend a lot of time with the mental aspect of the game, but rather works hard on the technical part. She did say however that the scores showed a lack of concentration by the girls.
"I look at the scores today I can tell the mental game wasn't there," said Martin. "You look at Thursday and it was there. They were prepared for it. That's just the way high school athletics are. Some days are on and some days are off. I talked to them afterwards and they all said 'I just wasn't in it.'"
Team scores -- Rocori 163, Alexandria 171, St. Cloud Tech 182, Willmar 182, Brainerd 185, Sartell 185, Little Falls 197, St. Cloud Apollo 245
Individual medalist -- Lindsay Skamstad (Alex) 37
Brainerd results -- T10-Marni Lundbohm 44, T15-Cecelia Meidinger 45, T19-Lisa Renneke 48, T19-Krista Parrish 48, T26-Laura Furda 50, 34-Amanda Christensen 53
Little Falls results -- T19-Sarah Owen 48, T19-Ashley Messerschmidt 48, T23-Jenna Herzog 49, T31-Kayla Czech 52, 35-Brie Mattson 54, T37-Sarah Evans 58
Conference standings -- Rocori 16, Brainerd 10.5, Willmar 10.5, Alexandria 10, St. Cloud Tech 9.5, Sartell 9.5, Little Falls 4, St. Cloud Apollo 2.
Next meet -- Central Lakes Conference match at Sartell Golf Club Thursday at 4 p.m.
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