The 2023 state golf meet featured both Fillmore Centrals girls and boys competing, as well as a trio of athletes from Lanes-boro. FC’s teams were in the limelight. By the time the 36 holes were completed, FC had a trio of state runners-up. The girls rose back to their top finish in six years. FC’s top male and female golfer also each took second overall, a rare feat. The Falcon boys posted the best finish for a Section 1A team at the state the last 10 years. Burros Chloe Schnebly, Hayden Lawstuen, and Jack Brogle competed.
Led by Hershberger, FC’s Girls Rise to Best Finish Since 2018
Fillmore Central girls golf has been a juggernaut over recent years. No other Section 1A gals team has been to state since 2014, as it has been all Falcons. From 2014 to 2018, led by coaches Lane Powell and then Aaron Mensink, all FC did was finish top three every year including a state title in 2016 and three runner-up finishes in 2015, 2017, and 2018. But 2019 was a transition year. The last great golfer of that span, Madison Scheevel, graduated (as individual state runner-up no less). The team finished in seventh place. Said squad was young save for Scheevel (and junior Taylor Bushman). It included a couple 8th graders, Courtney Hershberger and Chloe Morem. FC golf has come a long way since 2019. They took fifth in 2021 and fourth place a year ago. At the 2023 1A Section Meet, FC posted a cumulative score of
690. It was a low significant number. It would have been good enough to win the last six state Class A titles (and was two strokes ahead of FC’s 2016 state title team score of 692). The Falcons entered this year’s state meet as a title contender. FC did not disappoint at state, nor did they completely fulfill their hopeful destiny. With Hershberger and Morem seniors, a state title literally came down to the last putts of the last pairing. After Day 1, the Falcons (342) sat atop the leaderboard ahead of Lac qui Parle Valley (350) and Legacy Christian Academy (356). FC rode the play of Hershberger (not a surprise given she took third overall last year), but also, sophomore Myleigh Scheevel. Hershberger shot a Day 1 81 (39/42) and so did Scheevel (42/39) as the duo were tied for third place after the first 18-holes behind Legacy Christian Academy’s Raquelle Nelson (79) and BOLD’s Kenna Henriksen (80). Scheevel started Day 1 with back-to-back birdies and had four “birds” over the first 18 holes. Hershberger had nine pars and a birdie. The squad’s other senior, Chloe Morem, shot an 88 (43/45) and was tied for 10th place. Day 2 was then a rollercoaster. With team and individual scores (unofficially) accessible in real time via modern technology, the Falcons started the day ahead, were usurped by Lac qui Parle Valley after the first nine holes, then went back ahead. The Eagles led as the girls came down the final stretch. But LQPV’s edge was just one stroke as the last pairing of the day finished the final hole. Hershberger twice had putts that would have tied the match, and left FC as co-state champions. The first was long and on a side slope. The second was a makeable putt, albeit still a toughie having to judge side-slope speed and break. It did not fall. After getting into great position on the green with her drive and fairway work, she three-putted to bogey, which left the Falcons still one stroke back. Laq qui Parle Valley (350/346 > 696) topped FC (342/355 > 697) in comeback fashion for the state title while Legacy Christian Academy took a close third (356/347 > 703). Oddly enough, LQPV topped FC for the state title in 2018 by one stroke also, 714 to 715. The champion Eagles, which won their third championship since 2018,
had three in the top six. Isabella Jacobs (42/43/37/43 > 165) took fourth while Molly Halverson (39/47/40/43 > 169) and Kaitlyn Kittleson (40/42/43/44 > 169) tied for fifth place. FC just could not quite hold on, as Scheevel (48), Morem (46), and Aubrey Larson (49) joined with Hershberger (43) in shooting or tying their worst round of the golf for the tourney their last nine holes. FC’s four scoring golfers the final day, each bogeyed the final hole. One par would have tied the match. FC was the only team in the field to post a worse Day 2 score than on Day 1. Nonetheless, Hershberger (39/42/40/43 > 164), with 16 pars and two birdies, tied for state runner-up with BOLD’s Henriksen (41/39/41/43 > 164). Both were 20-over-par. Nelson (44/35/37/45 > 161) of Legacy Christian Academy claimed the state title shooting 17-over-par. Hershberger took third last year (91/82 > 173). In her first year at state back in the transition season of 2019, she took 75th place (111/112 > 223). Scheevel just missed the state medalist cut, finishing ninth overall (42/39/42/48 > 171). The sophomore was 27-over-par. She tied for 47th place last year (100/105 > 205). Both Hershberger and Scheevel cracked the top 10 of best scores by an FC girl’s golfer during the dynasty (see below). They also joined Grace Miller and Madison Scheevel (who did it three times) as giving FC two in the top 10 of state in the same year. Morem (43/45/46/46 > 180) and Larson (45/47/41/49 > 182) finished in 14th and 17th places, giving FC four in the top 20, another first for their dynasty. Morem took 55th place last year (109/99 > 208) and 84th place (121/121 > 242) in 2019, her first state meet. Larson took 45th place last year (101/103 > 204). FC had the best six-person team at the event. Last year’s FC team had just one player score under 200 (Hershberger). This year, all six did, something no other team could boast and a first for the FC dynasty. Lily Miller tied for 30th place (44/48/49/47 > 188) and Annika Mensink (47/52/44/50 > 193) tied for 40th place, as all six Falcons finished in the top half of the 86-gal field
(another first). Mensink took 56th place last year (106/103 > 209) while Miller was not one of the top six a year ago after tying for 56th place in 2021 (109/104 > 213). It was a year of massive improvement. The sixsome averaged a 22.66 shot betterment from their previous state experience (136 total strokes). Scheevel cut 34 strokes, Morem 30, Miller 25 (in 2021), Larson 22, Mensink 16, and Hershberger nine. Teamwise, the 697 was 81 strokes better than 2022’s 778 and tied their second lowest showing at state in the era (2017) behind the state title team in 2016 (692). FC’s 697 score was typically low enough to win a state title. Scores of 716, 720, 704, and 714 won the last four Class A girls state meets. In the three-class era (since 2008), 10 of 15 Class A girls champions have been crowned with a higher score than 697. The top 10 state scores in the FC girls golf era are now 157 (Grace Miller 2018), 161 (Madison Scheevel 2019), 162 (Scheevel 2018), 164 (Hershberger 2023), 165 (Scheevel 2016), 166 (Miller 2015 & 2016), 167 (Miller 2017), 168 (Scheevel 2017), and 171 (Myleigh Scheevel 2023). Hershberger and Morem played their last high school meet, with the former going out a two-time top three finisher. FC will return four for next year, as Larson will be a senior, Scheevel, Miller and Mensink juniors. It will be their most upperclassmen-heavy squad yet. That foursome’s 734 collective score this year would have taken third place. The event was held at the 18-hole par-72 Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker.