Panthers set sights on round under 400
Walt Harrison is hoping the Park Rapids girls golf team can pick up where it left off last spring. The Panthers peaked at the end of the season by carding a 424 for fifth place at the Mid-State Conference meet and a 433 for seventh place at the S...
Walt Harrison is hoping the Park Rapids girls golf team can pick up where it left off last spring.
The Panthers peaked at the end of the season by carding a 424 for fifth place at the Mid-State Conference meet and a 433 for seventh place at the Subsection North 6A tournament. Park Rapids also shot a 429 at its own invitational meet.
With four of their top golfers back and the return of two other former letterwinners, the Panthers are looking to improve on those finishes this spring.
Leading the Panthers are seniors Caitlyn Aho, Megan Yliniemi and Stephanie Walsh, and juniors Lexi Aho, Emily Nelson and Megan Goebel. The Ahos and Yliniemi will serve as captains this season.
Caitlyn Aho led the team with a 100.60 average in 10 tournaments. Aho shot 100 or better five times, highlighted by a career-best 89 to earn all-conference honors at the Mid-State tournament. Aho also had a 94 at Wadena and a 97 at Head-waters Country Club before shooting a 96 at the subsection meet to advance to the section tournament. Aho capped off her season with a 100 at the section meet. In four varsity seasons, Aho has seen her average go from a round of 127 in 2002 to an average of 116.9 in 2003 and an average of 107.9 in 2004.
Lexi Aho also begins her fourth year on varsity after finishing second on the team with a 106.50 average in 10 rounds. Aho shot a 97 at Headwaters Country Club before ending the season with rounds of 106 at the conference meet and 104 at the subsection meet to qualify for the section meet. Aho shot a 103 at the section tournament. In 2002, Aho played one varsity meet and shot a 127. Her average in 2003 was 115.1 and in 2004 was 111.8.
Yliniemi begins her fourth varsity season after averaging a 138.6 in 2003, a 125.4 in 2004 and a 118.0 last spring. Yliniemi carded a career-best 111 at Detroit Lakes and had rounds of 112 at Wadena, 117 at the conference meet and 116 at the subsection meet.
Nelson returns for her third varsity season after averaging a 129.4 last year. That was down from her 2004 average of 139.6. Nelson had a career best 118 at Headwaters Country Club and shot a 123 at Wadena, a 133 at the conference meet and a 126 at the subsection meet.
Goebel and Walsh return after not going out for golf last year. Goebel had a 150.3 average in 2003 and a 126.1 average in 2004 while Walsh had a 121.0 average in 2004.
Also looking to compete on varsity this year will be senior Alison Utke; junior Sarah Griffith; and freshmen Cody Hein, Megan Lawrence, Mindy Lawrence and Ashley Sauer.
"I think we can be competitive with schools our own size. We should have six kids capable of breaking 125. It would be nice to get under 400 this year. That's one goal we're going to be shooting for," said Harrison. "If we can get Caitlyn and Lexi under 100, Megan between 100 and 110, and the others between 110 and 120, we'll be competitive. I'm looking forward to the season."