Aho, Schroeder qualify for state meet:Park Rapids senior earns first state trip after carding an 88 at Section 6A tournament

Since the 2003 season, Lexi Aho has been one of the most consistent golfers on the Park Rapids girls golf team. The Park Rapids senior capped off her most consistent season in her five-year varsity career by becoming the first Park Rapids golfer ...

Since the 2003 season, Lexi Aho has been one of the most consistent golfers on the Park Rapids girls golf team.

The Park Rapids senior capped off her most consistent season in her five-year varsity career by becoming the first Park Rapids golfer to qualify for the state Class A tournament since Danielle Husby in 2002.

Aho capped off her senior season by earning her first trip to state by winning a playoff during Tuesday's Section 6A tournament at Fergus Falls' Pebble Lake Golf Club.

After 18 holes, Aho was tied with Perham's Holly Karkela and Staples-Motley's Hailey Roberts for fourth place in the battle for the five individual state berths with 88s. After an hour rain delay, those three went into a sudden-death playoff to see who would claim the two remaining state berths.

On the first playoff hole, Aho tapped in for a par while Karkela and Roberts carded bogeys. That gave Aho the fourth state berth and her first trip to state. Karkela earned the final state berth on the next hole to join Staples-Motley's Cydney Hasselberg (79), Osakis' Sarah Peterson (80) and Perham's Jenine Estlick (87) as the other individual qualifiers.


"It's pretty crazy. It hasn't sunk in yet," said Aho. "I didn't know what to expect. I figured if I could break 90 I might make it. I was able to pull it off."

"I knew she had to play at the top of her game to make it," said Park Rapids head coach Walt Harrison. "I thought her chances were pretty decent. I knew if she could break 90 she had a shot."

Aho played in her first North Subsection 6A meet as an eighth grader and carded a 110.

As a freshman, Aho shot a 97 to finish eighth in the subsection and followed with a 126 for 41st place in her Section 6A debut.

Aho then tied for 16th place with a 104 at the 2005 subsection meet and followed with a 103 at the section meet to finish 34th overall with a 207.

During her junior year, Aho shot under 100 five times and ended the season by shooting a 102 for 15th place at the subsection meet and a 97 for 22nd place at the section tournament.

This year, Aho focused on improving her short game in order to improve her 18-hole average.

That move paid off as Aho shot under 100 in eight of her first 10 meets, including a career-best 86 at Wadena, to finish the regular season with a 93.7 18-hole average.


At the subsection meet, Aho shot a 91 for fourth place to earn another trip to the section meet.

In her final section appearance Tuesday, Aho opened with a 44 on the back side. After carding a triple-bogey on hole No. 1, Aho settled down and fired another 44 on the front side. Back-to-back pars on the final two holes put Aho in a playoff.

After sitting around for an hour, Aho tried to put her first trip down the No. 1 fairway out of her mind as the playoff started on that first hole.

"Sitting around for an hour was tough. My parents told me to calm down, don't worry about it and just play my game," said Aho. "I think I hit only four fairways the whole day so I was praying I would hit the fairway. I hit a 225-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway and my second shot almost hit the pin and landed 8 feet from the hole. When they told me I made it, I could breathe again."

Aho will play a practice round at Izatys Resort near Onamia Tuesday in preparation for the first 18 holes of the state tournament Wednesday and the final 18 holes Thursday on that par-72 course.

"Lexi's been hitting the ball pure and her short game is coming around," said Harrison. "She has more experience and is always playing with the top kids, which helps her focus. I think she'll play well. Having Lexi make it to state really helps our program. It shows the younger girls that it's possible to get to state if you work hard."

"It's turned out to be a good year," said Aho. "I'm going to try and relax and have fun. Hopefully I can break 90 again."

Minnewaska dominates


Minnewaska Area dominated the section meet by claiming the top four spots and carding a 298 team score.

Emily Roering led the way with an even-par 72 and was followed by teammates Chelsey Falk with a 73, Sarah Roering with a 76 and Courtney Boe with a 77. Allie Ostrander added an 83 as Minnewaska Area finished 48 shots ahead of runner-up Staples-Motley.

United North Central's Stephanie Paulson tied for 28th place overall with a 99. Paulson claimed the final section berth with a 99 during the subsection meet.

Team scores: Minnewaska Area 298, Staples-Motley 346, Perham 361, Osakis 372.

Minnewaska Area state qualifiers

Emily Roering 72, Chelsey Falk 73, Sarah Roering 76, Courtney Boe 77, Allie Ostrander 83, Lisa Blair 90.

Individual state qualifiers

1, Cydney Hasselberg, Staples-Motley, 79. 2, Sarah Peterson, Osakis, 80. 3, Jenine Estlick, Perham 87. 4, Lexi Aho, Park Rapids, 88. 5, Holly Karkela, Perham, 88.

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