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Panthers looking to tee up another successful season

Last season the Park Rapids girls golf team had its most successful season since 2001.

This year the Panthers have the potential to do even better.

A year ago, the Panthers shot under 400 seven times, highlighted by a 370 at Blueberry Pines. That was the Panthers' lowest team score since carding a 355 in 1981. Park Rapids ended the season by shooting a 393 to finish third at the Subsection 8AA meet and followed with a 392 to place fifth at the Section 8AA meet. That was the Panthers' first trip to the section meet since winning the subsection title in 2001.

Mindy Lawrence, who shared the team's Most Valuable Player award, is the only player who graduated from last year's section team. Lawrence ended her high school career with a career-best 92 at the section meet and tallied a 100.7 average in 15 meets.

Even though the Panthers will miss Lawrence's leadership, the return of six varsity players has head coach Walt Harrison confident the Panthers will pick up where they left off last spring.

Leading the Panthers this season are seniors Mary Kading, Kirsten Erickson and Kallie Zeller; sophomores Katie Kristofferson and Katie Walsh; and freshman Hannah Williams.

Kading, who shared Most Valuable Player honors last season, led the team with a 98.0 average in 12 meets. Kading shot under 100 eight times, highlighted by an 87 at Staples. Kading carded a 104 at the Mid-State Conference meet and ended the season with a 95 at the subsection meet and a 97 at the section meet.

Kristofferson was second on the team with a 98.3 average in 15 rounds. Kristofferson carded a career best 88 at Blueberry Pines and shot a 111 at the conference meet, a 92 at the subsection meet and a 111 at the section meet. Kristofferson had eight rounds under 400 last season.

Erickson played 12 rounds last season and ended the year with a 101.3 average. Erickson's best round was a 93 at Blueberry Pines. Erickson ended the season with a 97 to earn all-conference honorable mention honors at the Mid-State meet, a 105 at the subsection meet and a 98 at the section meet. Erickson broke 100 seven times.

Williams played in five varsity meets and had a 111.6 average, highlighted by a 105 at the subsection meet and a 104 at the section meet.

Walsh played in six varsity meets and had a 122.3 average, highlighted by a 116 at Thief River Falls.

Zeller has missed all of her sophomore season and most of her junior season with a knee injury, but had a 114.9 average with a low of 107 in eight varsity meets as a freshman and shot a 120 in her only meet last season.

Competing in golf for the first time are sophomores Michaela Zahnow and Allycia Zinke.

"It's going to be tough to replace Mindy, but I think we could be even better than last year," said Harrison. "We have six girls who can score consistently. If we can keep our people healthy, I think we're going to be competitive in most meets. I'd like to see us average in the 380s. If we do that, we have a good shot to get back to the section meet, which is one of our goals. I'm looking forward to a good year."