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Paynesville Press - April 10, 2002

Snowy spring causes slow start for golf teams

By Michael Jacobson

So far, the snowy spring has offered few opportunities for the high school golf teams to practice.

Both the girls' and boys' teams met on Monday, March 11, and they took four trips to the golf dome in St. Cloud. That was all their budget allowed, so since then they have waited for warmer weather.

"All we need is a little patch of grass," said coach Todd Knudsvig.

The boys' team this year has 12 high school members and 10 junior high members. The girls' team has only six members so far, all of whom are expected to contribute to the varsity.

Despite the low numbers on the girls' team, Knudsvig expects them to have a chance to place in the top three in the conference and advance as a team to the section meet. "In 1998, the girls won the subsection title. This is the best team we've had since then," he explained.

"I'm excited about their chances," he added, "if they take it seriously and dedicate themselves."

Senior Sally Heitke qualified individually for sections last year. She is joined by senior Maria Janotta, sophomores Heather Fuchs, Amanda Glenz, and Jena Spaulding, and eighth grader Amber Jensen. Knudsvig said the top four of Heitke, Janotta, Fuchs, and Glenz could be very strong, with Spaulding and Jensen providing valuable depth.

The girls lost two players to graduation from last year: Erin O'Fallon and Katie Wright. The team finished third out of 11 in the subsection (with the top two advancing to sections) and fourth out of seven in the West Central Conference North.

The girls' team, especially, needs additional members. "After this season, we will be down to only four girls, and we need to see that number rise in order that Paynesville Area High School can continue to have a girls' team," said Knudsvig. Senior Nathan Glenz, who also qualified individually for sections, is expected to lead the boys' team in the tough West Central Conference North. The Bulldogs finished seventh, out of seven, in the conference last season but placed seventh, out of 13, in the subsection.

Knudsvig expects freshman Mitchell Mackedanz to be the #2 golfer this spring for the boys. Other golfers with varsity experience are seniors Adam Rafferty, Travis Atkinson, and David Jones and juniors Eric Gerding and Tony Savage.

The boys' team lost Mark Brossard and Corey Schmitt to graduation.

Other high school golfers are senior Ryan Johnson, sophomores Brandon Mackedanz and Nick Nelson, and freshmen Greg Person and Josh Tebben.

The boys' team average around 45 strokes per round last year, which used to be pretty competitive, but was not in the strong WCC North, where winning teams averaged around 40 strokes per round. St. Cloud Cathedral, which tied with LPGE for the conference title last year, had qualifying rounds where golfers might shoot a 40 and not finish in the top six.

"Our boys need to spend a whole lot more time on the course in the summer in order to be competitive with the teams in the conference," said Knudsvig. "It is impossible to golf heavy for two months and be competitive with the kids from other schools that spend several hours per day in the summer golfing."

The boys' team was scheduled to start its competitive season with a conference meet at Sauk Centre on Tuesday. They also are scheduled to play at a meet hosted by St. Cloud Cathedral on Monday, April 15.

The girls' team is scheduled to start at Willmar on Thursday, April 11. They have their first conference meet on Tuesday, April 16, at Litchfield.

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