What a run it has been for the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' golf team.
Two Class 1A state titles and a third-place finish in three years.
Izatys Golf and Yacht Club should rename its Sanctuary Golf Course "Pequot Lakes." Or, maybe, Pequot Lakes, the fine community that it is, should give itself the nickname, "the Sanctuary of Golf Greatness."
Kim Larson, Val Meschke and Ali Gravdahl played in all three state tournaments and Brooke Keys finished her second. Kendra Larson, who would have played last year but was injured, finished her first.
What a way to finish. A 25-stroke victory after leading the first round by 17 strokes showed there is no letdown in Patriot town.
Pequot has come back to win a state tournament and dominated a state tournament. The Patriots have played the role of rookie spoiler and savvy veteran.
Probably the best state tournament was 2003. Pequot finished the first round of that state final in sixth place, only to come back with a vengeance to finish third.
All of this and the players, including Pequot Lakes coach Judy Heslop, didn't even think they were going to make it back to state this season.
"We played a lot of 2A schools and we didn't win a lot of tournaments," said Gravdahl. "We only won two or three tournaments. I personally did not think we were going to make it to state this year because I knew Pelican Rapids was a big challenge for us. At sections they did not play very well at all.
"Then, when we got here, I knew we were going to win it just because this year we picked it up a lot."
It wasn't easy. It took hard work and for that Heslop was thankful.
"This team, I am so proud of them," said Heslop. "They have done everything that we have asked. We were never even supposed to get this far. We weren't even supposed to be here. They have practiced in the rain. They have played every day. It's them. It truly is because they did everything we asked of them and more."
The feeling was mutual.
"It's just an amazing, amazing feeling because we worked so hard," said Meschke. "When other sports were done with practice we were out there practicing. We were out in the hail.
"Mrs. Heslop is a great coach and she really pushes us. We worked harder this season than we did last season and it paid off."
A greedy Keys is already looking ahead to next year.
"Last year we got third and I was so excited, but this is even better," said Keys. "Next year I'm really hoping to come back with a better score and senior year I'm hoping to come back and maybe even get close to the top 10."
Kim Larson finished her high school career as a state champion. Now she'll have to prepare for Division I opponents when she tees it up for the North Dakota State University Bison women's golf team next fall.
From coach to player
The fifth Minnesota Golf Association Senior Players Championship is scheduled June 15-17 at Deacon's Lodge Golf Course in Breezy Point.
Thirty-two of the top senior MGA players will compete in the match play event, including Staples-Motley head boys' and girls' golf coach Glen Hasselberg.
Other area players competing are R. J. Smiley, former owner of Mille Lacs Golf Resort, Ed Sauer of Tianna Country Club in Walker and Jack Seiberlich of Little Falls Country Club.
Defending champion Steve Johnson of Elk River Country Club is back, as are former champions Rod Magnuson of Keller Golf Course and Jerry Gruidl of Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.
Deacon's Lodge will play to 6,541 yards for its first state amateur championship. Deacon's has hosted the PGA of America/Buick Scramble sectional qualifier and will host the 2004 Minnesota PGA Pro-Assistant Championship.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.