Panthers continue building for future
Walt Harrison was counting on the Park Rapids girls golf team to consistently shoot rounds under 400 and earn a return trip to the Section 8AA tournament.
The Panthers fell short of achieving both goals as Harrison’s team failed to card a round under 400 in eight 18-hole tournaments and ended the season by placing sixth at the Section 8AA North tournament.
“We didn’t have enough time to improve that much because of the miserable weather,” said Harrison. “We weren’t able to get any consistency.”
During the season, 12 golfers competed in at least one varsity meet. That group featured sophomores Mariena Dearstyne, Alyza Edevold, Riley Kimball, Dana McDonald, MacKenzie Hensel, Talya Smith and Lexi Stevenson; freshmen Drew Hilmanowski and Jasmine Cease; and eighth graders Olivia McDonald, Amber Schroeder and Olivia Wallace.
At the season-opening Pelican Rapids Invitational at Wildflower, Dearstyne’s 88, Dana McDonald’s 112, Edevold’s 116 and Hilmanowski’s 121 led to a 437 team score and 10th place. Detroit Lakes led the 14-team field with a 307.
The Panthers carded a 502 for sixth place at the 10-team Walker Invitational at Tianna as Wallace’s 118, Cease’s 125, Olivia McDonald’s 129 and Hensel’s 130 comprised the team score. Fosston took first with a 398.
Dana McDonald’s 108, Olivia McDonald’s 119, Cease’s 128 and Stevenson’s 129 led the Panthers to a 484 and ninth place at the 10-team Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational. Pequot Lakes led the field with a 350.
Dearstyne shared medalist honors with a 90 as the Panthers placed fourth at the six-team Fertile-Beltrami Invitational. Kimball’s 104, Edevold’s 105 and Dana McDonald’s 106 rounded out the Panthers’ team score. Crookston was first with a 387.
At the Staples-Motley Invitational, Dearstyne carded a season-low 83 while a 103 by Edevold and a pair of 108s by Hilmanowski and Kimball gave the Panthers a season-best 402 for sixth place. Alexandria led the 11-team field with a 343.
Park Rapids finished fifth at the six-team Mid-State Conference meet with a 435 as Dearstyne’s 95, a pair of 113s by Hilmanowski and Kimball, and a 114 by Edevold led the way. Detroit Lakes claimed the conference title with a 306.
Fosston captured the team title at the Longbow Invitational with a 378 while the Panthers placed sixth out of 11 teams with a 477. Dana McDonald’s 113, Wallace’s 122, Cease’s 123 and Olivia McDonald’s 126 led Park Rapids.
At the Park Rapids Invitational at Headwaters Country Club, the Black team carded a 409 to finish eighth out of 13 teams. Dearstyne’s 91, Edevold’s 100, Dana McDonald’s 105 and Cease’s 113 led the Panthers. Park Rapids’ Orange team finished 13th with a 500 behind Hensel’s 121, Wallace’s 124, Schroeder’s 126 and Stevenson’s 129. Staples-Motley led the 13-team field with a 342.
In seven Northern Pines Conference meets, the Panthers finished first in five of them and took runner-up honors in the other two.
Dearstyne earned medalist honors with a 43 as Park Rapids carded a three-player score of 154 at Headwaters. Dana McDonald’s 55 and Hilmanowski’s 56 rounded out the Panthers’ team score.
Dearstyne again led the field with a 46 as the Panthers won the second conference meet at Bears Den. Dana McDonald’s 48 and Hilmanowski’s 49 rounded out the Panthers’ 143 team score.
In the second round at Bears Den, Hilmanowski earned medalist honors with a 42 while Dearstyne’s 46 and Dana McDonald’s 48 led to a 136.
At Blackduck, the Panthers finished second behind Nevis’ 167 with a 168 as Dearstyne’s 49, Edevold’s 57 and Dana McDonald’s 62 led the way.
The Panthers tied Nevis for first place at Tianna with a 167 behind Cease’s 52, Dana McDonald’s 56 and 59s by Olivia McDonald and Wallace.
In the second round at Tianna, Dana McDonald’s 55 and 60s by Wallace and Cease led to a runner-up 173. Nevis took first with a 167.
Dearstyne was the medalist in the final conference meet at Castle Highlands with a 48 while 50s by Dana McDonald, Hilmanowski and Cease comprised the Panthers’ winning team score of 148.
Park Rapids concluded the season at the Section 8AA North meet at Fertile by carding a 425. Edevold’s 101, Hilmanowski’s 104, Kimball’s 106 and Dana McDonald’s 114 led the Panthers. Crookston won the subsection title with a 382 while Hawley (390) and Roseau (395) earned the other two berths to the section tournament.
Detroit Lakes, which carded a state record 284 to win the Section 8AA South title, captured the Section 8AA title for the fifth year in a row and won the state Class AA title for the third year in a row.
Dearstyne led the Panthers with an 89.4 average in five 18-hole rounds, Edevold was second with a 106.5 average in six 18-hole rounds while Dana McDonald (110.9 average in eight rounds), Hilmanowski (111.2 average in five rounds) and Kimball (112.3 average in six rounds) followed.
Also seeing varsity action were Wallace (121.3 average in three rounds), Cease (122.3 average in seven rounds), Olivia McDonald (127.5 average in four rounds), Hensel (132.0 average in three rounds), Stevenson (134.3 average in four rounds), Schroeder (134.7 average in three rounds) and Smith (145.8 average in four rounds).
“I’m starting to see some of these girls emerge as leaders. We have some dedicated golfers and we should see lower scores next year,” said Harrison. “This group has a good future. We’re on the verge of putting it together. We need to get four players to consistently break 100. It all depends on how much they play this summer. With a summer of practice, this group has the potential to get back to the section tournament.”