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Paynesville Press - April 9, 2003

Golfers prepare for new season

By Michael Jacobson

The boys' and girls' golf teams at Paynesville Area High School will start their spring seasons this week, weather permitting.

The boys were scheduled to start their season on Tuesday afternoon at Sauk Centre, while the girls will open their season on Thursday at Melrose.

The girls have hopes to finish in the top half of the conference and to contend for the subsection title, said coach Todd Knudsvig. Last year, the Bulldogs were fourth out of seven teams in the West Central Conference North and fifth out of 14 teams in the subsection.

The girls' team - who lost Sally Heitke and Maria Janotta to graduation - return five golfers with varsity experience, including four juniors: Brittany Caldwell, Heather Fuchs, Amanda Glenz, and Jena Spaulding. Also returning with varsity experience is ninth grader Amber Jensen.

Fuchs last year advanced to the section competition individually and earned Most Improved honors on the team by lowering her stroke average nearly five strokes, averaging 49.9 per round.

For the girls, Albany remains the conference favorite, said Knudsvig. But Litchfield - now in the Wright County Conference - was second, and Sauk Centre - who lost its top two golfers, including Jackie Beste who finished in the top five at state individually - was third.

On the boys side, the Bulldogs have good numbers - 21 boys on the team - but have little varsity experience. The Bulldogs lost three of their top four scorers from last year. The only one returning is sophomore Mitchell Mackedanz, who averaged 44.3 strokes per round last year and was named Most Improved on the team. (Senior Nathan Glenz was the team MVP.)

Seniors Eric Gerding and Tony Savage also return to the varsity lineup. Knudsvig expects ninth graders Ross Barten and Justin Bork to contribute to the varsity this spring.

The Bulldogs face a tough conference where teams routinely have four or five players shoot 45 or below. Last year, the Bulldogs had two players average under 45 per round and two more under 50 as they finished last in the conference.

The Dogs fared better at subsections, where they were 10th out of 14 teams.

This year, Knudsvig will be assisted by Ron Fuchs.

Next week, the boys will have a meet hosted by St. Cloud Cathedral on Monday, April 14, as will the girls on Tuesday, April 15. Both meets start at 4:30 p.m.

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