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Paynesville Press - April 5, 2006

Golf teams getting ready to hit the links

By Michael Jacobson

The PAHS golf team are scheduled to start their 2006 seasons next week, with both teams searching for depth to help their varsity lineups.

Fifteen boys and six girls have practiced with the team so far this spring, according to coach Ron Fuchs, whose players were expected to be able to practice outside starting this week.

The girls return senior Amber Jensen and junior Marissa Mackedanz, who both advanced individually to sections last year. Mackedanz also earned All Conference honors, while Jensen just missed last year. (She has earned All Conference honors previously.) Both Mackedanz and Jensen have been focused this spring, including practicing on their own, said Fuchs. "They look like they're ready to continue their success from last year," he said.

Junior Cassandra Olmscheid improved a great deal last year in her first year on the golf team and will be counted on as the team's third scorer.

Sophomore Natasha Fangmeier, sophomore Meghan Doll, and ninth grader Karla Leitzman all return to the team this year as well.

Getting a consistent third and fourth scorer will be key to the girls' team's success this spring, said Fuchs.

The boys' team returns three varsity regulars in seniors Ross Barten and Justin Bork and ninth grader Zach Fuchs. The Dogs beat Melrose last year to place fifth in the conference but lost conference champion Mitchell Mackedanz to graduation last spring (along with Cody Flanders and Matt Fuchs).

Barten, Bork, and Zach Fuchs are all good golfers, said coach Fuchs, but the varsity team needs to find four more golfers to fill its lineup.

Ninth grader Jeremy Schmidt, who got some varsity experience, is expected to fill one varsity spot. So far this spring, with trips to an indoor facility to hit golf balls but no actual playing rounds, Fuchs said he was unable to predict the varsity lineup for the boys' team.

At least three spots are open, he said. "It's really open for whoever steps up and plays well," he explained. Varsity spots will be based on the ability to score on the golf course, not on age.

Fuchs said sophomore Justin Hansen (a newcomer to the team), ninth grader Travis Wensmann, eighth grader Matt Currens, and seventh graders Tanner Caldwell and Tanner Evans could all see time in the varsity lineup this year.

The West Central Conference North adds Minnewaska and New London-Spicer this spring, which means the conference season for golf will involve seven meets instead of five. Fuchs lists the Minnewaska girls as the conference favorite with Albany, while NL-S could also challenge Albany on the boys' side.

For subsections, Becker has left the Dogs' section, which means the subsection meet will need to be held at a different course this year. So far, that site has not been determined.

Both the boys' and girls' golf teams will start their competitive schedule next week. The boys will open with back-to-back conference meets: at St. Cloud on Monday, April 10, and at Sauk Centre on Tuesday, April 11. The girls will open this season with a nonconference meet at Melrose on Thursday, April 13.

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