Park Rapids’ Anna Eckmann and Mady Maninga and United North Central’s Andrea Aho qualified for the state Class AA golf tournament.
Eckmann, a freshman, put herself in position to earn a state berth by carding a 76 on the par-72 course for second place during the first round of the Section 8AA tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club on Monday, June 7. The Park Rapids freshman followed with an 88, including a hole-in-one on the No. 7 hole, during the second round on Tuesday, June 8. Eckmann’s two-day total of 165 was good for third place overall. Maninga, a sophomore, finished sixth overall with a 175. Maninga opened with a 93 before moving up the leaderboard by carding an 82 during the second round. Both will be making their first trips to state.
Perham’s Mallory Belka followed a 74 with a 75 for a 149 to earn medalist honors. Fergus Falls’ Annika Jyrkas was second at 160 with rounds of 84 and 76. Fergus Falls’ Ellia Soydara was fourth at 169 while Crookston’s Joslynn Leach was fifth at 172. The other individual state berth went to Hawley’s Ivy Tickel at 177. Fergus Falls, which also received a seventh-place 176 by Annie Mayer, claimed the team title with a 688 while Perham was second at 714. Crookston (750), Hawley (754), East Grand Forks (760) and Barnesville (806) followed.
“Honestly, I had a lot of confidence that both girls would make it out of the section,” said Park Rapids head coach Brent Vandal. “They are both great competitors and have tremendous work ethic and dedication to the sport. I knew if they could play their own games, they would have a great chance of moving on.”
Aho had two solid rounds in the boys tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club on June 7-8 to earn his first trip to state. The Menahga senior carded three birdies and seven pars for a 77 on Monday and followed with four birdies and 10 pars for an even-par 72 on Tuesday for a two-day total of 149 to share third place.
Detroit Lakes’ Lukas Justesen claimed medalist honors with rounds of 73 and 72 for a 145. Warroad’s Jayson Shaugabay, who was the first-day leader at 70, finished second at 147 while Perham’s Marcus Belka tied Aho at 149 and Barnesville’s Adam Tonsfeldt carded a 151 to earn the other state berths. Roseau won the team title in a tiebreaker over Detroit Lakes after both teams carded 636s. Barnesville (653), Warroad (656), Hawley (662) and Fergus Falls (669) followed.
“Andreas peaked at the right time,” said UNC head coach Tim Wurdock. “He stayed calm and focused. His hard work paid off.”
UNC’s Alayna Day tied for 18th place in the girls tournament with rounds of 101 and 90 for a 191. In the boys tournament, Park Rapids’ Nolan Eckmann finished 21st at 168 with rounds of 90 and 78 while UNC’s Carter Hillukka tied for 42nd place at 182 with rounds of 90 and 92.
The two-day, 36-hole state Class AA tournament will be held June 15-16 at Jordan’s Ridges at Sand Creek course.
“We are just excited to be going to the state tournament,” said Vandal. “I do think the girls have a chance to do very well, but we are just going to take things one day at a time and try to enjoy playing with some of the top girls in the state.”