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Girls Golf: Park Rapids teed up a successful season

Winning the Section 8AA North title, sending 2 to state provided the main highlights to the Panthers' season.

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Emily Schulz capped off her senior season by carding a 107 at the Section 8AA North tournament and rounds of 107 and 99 at the Section 8AA tournament to end the 2022 season with a 108.6 average.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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Dominating the Northern Pines Conference, winning the Section 8AA North title and having two individuals contend at the state Class AA tournament highlighted a successful season for the Park Rapids girls golf team.

The Panthers won all six nine-hole rounds during the NPC season and carded a season best 365 team score to capture the subsection title and advance to the Section 8AA tournament. Park Rapids finished third at the section tournament while sophomore Anna Eckmann and junior Mady Maninga ended the season by finishing in the top 10 at the state Class AA tournament.

Rounding out the Panthers’ starting lineup this spring were senior Emily Schulz; juniors Natalie Backmann, Louisa Etter, Massie Lee and Emma Vrieze; and sophomore Lexi Usher.

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Emma Vrieze posted a 60.0 average in Northern Pines Conference meets and a 115.6 average in five 18-hole tournaments for the Panthers during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

In the six Northern Pines Conference meets, the Panthers carded a three-golfer score of 130 on the front side and a 135 on the back side at Wadena’s Whitetail Run Golf Course, had rounds of 127 on the front and 138 on the back at Bemidji’s Castle Highlands Golf Course, and posted rounds of 121 and 134 at Walker’s LongBow Golf Club for a 130.8 three-golfer team average.

Eckmann earned medalist honors in all six NPC meets with rounds of 39 and 38 at Wadena, 36 and 41 at Castle Highlands, and 38 and 39 at LongBow. Maninga was the Panthers’ No. 2 golfer in all six NPC meets with rounds of 41 and 46 at Wadena, a pair of 44s at Castle Highlands, and 38 (to share medalist honors) and 45 at LongBow. Rounding out the team score at Wadena were Usher (with a 50) on the front and Schulz (with a 51) on the back, Usher (with rounds of 47 and 53) at Castle Highlands, and Usher (with a 45) on the front and Backmann (with a 50) on the back at LongBow.

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Lexi Usher was the Panthers' No. 3 golfer during the 2022 season, carding averages of 49.7 in Northern Pines Conference play and 100.8 in 18-hole tournaments.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Eckmann led the conference with a 38.5 average while Maninga was second with a 43.0 average. Usher (49.7), Backmann (57.0) and Vrieze (60.0) also played in all six NPC meets while Schulz (53.0) competed in two meets and Etter (66.0) played four rounds.

In their six 18-hole tournaments, the Panthers had an average four-golfer team score of 377.

At the Fergus Falls Invitational, Park Rapids carded a 382 behind Eckmann’s medalist round of 77, Maninga’s 95, Usher’s 98 and Schulz’s 112. Fergus Falls led the 10-team field with a 340.

Eckmann earned medalist honors at the Mid-State Conference tournament at Detroit Lakes’ Detroit Country Club with a 77 as the Panthers finished fourth with a 398. Maninga also earned all-conference honors with an 89 while Vrieze’s 114 and Schulz’s 118 rounded out the team score. Etter added a 125. Detroit Lakes claimed the conference title for the 12th year in a row with a 345.

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Natalie Backmann posted averages of 57.0 in Northern Pines Conference meets and 115.8 in 18-hole tournaments during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

At the Section 8AA Preview at the Bemidji Town & Country Club, the Panthers tied for fourth place with a 387 as Eckmann led the field with a 72. Maninga’s 90, Usher’s 95 and Lee’s 130 completed Park Rapids’ team score. Fergus Falls led the 10-team field with a 337.

Led by Eckmann’s medalist round of 75 and Maninga’s runner-up 79, the Panthers won the Section 8AA North title with a 365 at Park Rapids’ Headwaters Golf Course. Usher’s 104 and Schulz’s 107 completed the team score while Backmann had a 109 and Vrieze carded a 122.

In the first round of the Section 8AA tournament at the Bemidji Town & Country Club, the Panthers carded a 380 with a pair of 83s by Eckmann and Maninga and a pair of 107s by Usher and Schulz leading the way. Vrieze had a 114 and Backmann carded a 118. The Panthers played their best round of the season on Day 2 at the Section 8AA tournament with Eckmann leading the field with a 73 to finish second overall at 156 and Maninga carding an 82 to finish fourth overall at 165 to qualify for state. Backmann carded a career best of 96 and Schulz had a career best of 99 to round out Park Rapids’ 350 team score while Usher (100) and Vrieze (108) followed. The two-day total of 730 gave Park Rapids third place behind Fergus Falls’ 680 (with rounds of 351 and 329) and Perham’s 706 (with rounds of 358 and 348) in the six-team field.

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Leading the Park Rapids girls golf team to the 2022 Section 8AA North title and to third place at the 2022 Section 8AA tournament were (from left) Anna Eckmann, Emma Vrieze, Emily Schulz, Natalie Backmann, Lexi Usher, Mady Maninga, head coach Brent Vandal.
Submitted / Brent Vandal

At the state Class AA tournament at Jordan’s Ridges at Sand Creek, Eckmann carded rounds of 79 on Day 1 and 40 during a weather-shortened 9-hole round on Day 2 to finish third at 119 while Maninga had rounds of 84 and 37 to tie for seventh place at 121. Perham’s Mallory Belka won the state title at 114 with rounds of 76 and 38.

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For the season, Eckmann had a 76.6 average in seven 18-hole rounds, Maninga carded a 86.0 average in seven rounds, Usher had a 100.8 average in five rounds, Schulz finished with a 108.6 average in five rounds, Vrieze had a 115.6 average in five rounds and Backmann posted a 115.8 average in five rounds.

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1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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