Fillmore Central’s six girls golfers each played 36 holes. They each teed-off 36 times. They had countless fairway shots, rough-shots, sand-shots, chip-shots, and puts. The Falcons’ scoring golfers combined for just over 700 total swings. Lac qui Parle Valley’s six golfers each played 36 holes. They had countless fairway shots, rough-shots, sand-shots, chip-shots, and puts. Their scoring golfers combined for just over 700 total golf swings. After two days, some ten hours’ worth of course time, the 2018 Class A state girls golf championship at Pebble Creek Course in Becker came down to a single stroke. After Day 1, defending champion BOLD (347) led Lac qui Parle Valley (354), Fillmore Central (358), and Park Christian (366). At the turn Day 2, the scores had tightened. It was evident the Falcons, in their fifth straight state meet, were again in the running for the program’s second championship. When all had concluded, the numbers were crunched. Individual scores were super close. The top five finishers were all within four strokes of the lead, the top eight within ten strokes. Lac qui Parle had the Class A state champion, sophomore Rachel Halvorson, who finished atop the leaderboard with a 155 (37, 39, 36, 43). Halvorson had been tied for first after Day 1 with Park Christian’s Emily Doeden (76s). Fillmore Central was the only school with two girls in the top ten. Five-time state veterans Grace Miller and Madison Scheevel, forever linked in FC girls golf history, for a last time officially did their magic simultaneously, proving themselves Class A’s top duo. Miller, a senior, tied for third place with Doeden (157s). Each athlete was just two strokes off Halvorson’s title pace, one stroke behind Legacy Christian’s second place Sophie Gray (39, 40, 39, 38 > 156). With just one sub-40 score previously at state, Grace went 39, 39, 37, and 42. It was her best score and finish at state, her fifth top 20 finish, fourth top 10 finish. Eighth grade through junior years, Miller went 184 (tied for 20th), 166 (tied for 6th), 166 (8th), and 167 (tied for 8th). Scheevel wasn’t far behind, taking sixth with a 162. She’d hit sub-40 three times at state previously, but had never been so (low) consistent as 41, 41, 40, and 40. It was her best score and finish at state, her fourth top 20 finish, third top 10 finish. Seventh grader though sophomore years, the junior went 201 (tied for 53rd), 175 (tied for 15th), 165 (7th place), and 168 (10th place). Team-wise, scores were also super close. The four squads atop the leaderboard finished separated by just 12 strokes. By a single stroke, LqPV (714) held off Fillmore Central (715) for the state title, with Park Christian (723) and BOLD (726) taking third and fourth. It was the Falcons’ third second place finish in four years, with a state title coming in 2016. It was their fifth top three finish in the last five years. They now have a nice collection of state golf hardware. Cailey Rindels was FC’s third golfer. She went 46, 47, 50, and 50 to post a 193 (tied for 33rd). The senior, in her fourth state competition, was a smidgeon better both in 2016 (190) and 2017 (182). Taylor Bushman was FC’s fourth golfer. She went 49, 57, 46, and 52 to post a 204 (tied for 49th). The sophomore shot 222 last season. Bushman had FC’s third score Day 2 (98). Varsity newcomers Keanna Weedman (55, 54, 54, 49 > 212) and Hailey Lange (50, 55, 59, 60 > 224) were FC’s two other competitors. Lange’s 105 was used as FC’s fourth score Day 1. And while a third runner-up isn’t nearly as cool as a second state championship, 2018 confirmed that FC’s girl’s golf program is on the best Class A run in the state. Only BOLD has also made Becker each of the last five years. The teams combined score over that period has FC in the lead by 52 strokes (3,538 to 3,590). At state, FC is the only team the last five years to post two sub-700 scores (692 in 2016, 697 in 2017) and they own four of the top ten lowest team scores. First with Lane Powell and Aaron Mensink (2014-2017) and now with Mensink and Andy Todd (2017-2018), it’s has been a true dynasty. A 50-person entourage of fans braved the 2½ hour trip to support the small team. But the window may be closing. This will be the first year in FC’s reign where two state-scoring golfers (Miller, Rindels) graduate. And Miller’s been FC’s best the past five years. Scheevel will be a heavy favorite to make Becker alone next year, but from there it’ll take some improvement and/or some newcomers to take FC to state a sixth straight year. But from Keeley Todd, to Katie Tammel, to Laura Donney, to Tayah Barnes, to Miller and Rindels, always with Scheevel (and others), it’s been a spectacular five years.
About Paul Trende