Pirate boys place 2nd, girls 3rd at section meet.
Senior Brady Heppner qualified for his second consecutive State Class AA Meet and eighth grader Ally Tiedemann is going to her first after both qualified at Tuesday's Section 8AA Meet at Long Bow Golf Course in Walker, Minn. The Pirate boys' team missed state by four strokes, finishing runner-up to Fergus Falls. The Pirate girls' team finished third to Detroit Lakes' incredible score of 307.
Heppner finished fifth as an individual with a 76. Tiedemann shot an 86, which was the ninth best score for girls.
Pirate sophomore Isaac Westlake recorded a 78 and was in a four-person tiebreaker, but lost on the first hole. Also counting for the team score was an 80 from sophomore Doug Larson and an 81 from freshman Charles Eickhof. Senior Brandon Conklin finished with a 91 and sophomore Parker Nicholls carded a 92.
"We played really well overall," Pirate boys' head coach Steve Kofoed said. "We had mistakes early on that cost us. I was happy with the way we improved from the beginning of this season.
"I knew we'd be in that conversation," Kofoed continued. "The scores were higher than what they normally would be. None of the guys got off to fantastic starts yesterday. We knew Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls were in similar places. We were in good position after Monday."
Tiedemann's 86 led the girls' team. Freshman Maddie Nicholls carded an 89, senior Amber Trostad shot a 110 and sophomore Emily Ricord shot a 112. Junior Abby Parr came in with a 114 and eighth grader Brelee Jobe shot a 168.
"Overall, I have to say we are a little disappointed we didn't get second place as a team," Pirate girls' head coach Jeff Perreault said. "But there were good things as well. Ally getting to the state tournament as an eighth grader is very well deserved. She works hard at her game. We as a team, we were thinking we were the second place team going in and that's where we wanted to finish. One girl made it and one girl was very close. Maddie started with an eight (Monday) and that hurt. The two times she played Long Bow earlier this year she posted a six and five. Either of those and she would have been right there."
The tournament was postponed Monday due to rain and resumed play Tuesday morning.
"I'm glad we did what we did," Perreault said. "Some coaches were crabby we had to come back. It was fair and it was the right thing to do. It gave them an opportunity to post good scores."
Detroit Lakes scored really well, winning by an incredible 91 strokes with a 307, which was six strokes lower than the boys' winning team, Fergus Falls.
"That's what we expected," coach Perreault said. "We exhcanged wins with Roseau. It was kind of what people expected, fighting for second place. Detroit Lakes is the best girls team, talking to coaches, that many have seen in history. It is something special. You just have to go, 'wow.' You learn from them when you play with those six girls. They are classy and good high school athletes and golfers. Talking to couple of them, it drives you. They make it look so easy."
Tiedemann may be an eighth grader but she competed in the state tennis tournament as a seventh grader and knows how to compete.
"Ally is an athlete," Perreault said. "She played with the best player in the state for the past three years, Kate Smith of Detroit Lakes. She played with her and the thing I really enjoyed about Ally is that after her round she wanted to point out which hole she beat her on. That's the mentality I really like. I love that competitiveness."
Tiedemann is eager to get down and play the state tournament course, Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. as soon as possible.
"Ally's brother, Bobby, competes at state tennis Thursday and Friday," Perreault noted. "She asked her parents, 'can you just drop me off in Jordan?' She wants to play it tomorrow. Ally will go down there and learn a lot. She believes in her game and she is confident on the golf course."
Heppner has state golf experience and has the ability to go really low.
"Brady had an up and down year," coach Kofoed said. "He didn't hit a fairway Tuesday until his 16th hole and that was because he hit a tree on a snap hook. It's just the way he plays. At that point he was even par. Brady is not the kind of guy I can pencil him in for a number. He has always been that guy up and down. He was maybe trying to steer things. He put a little weight on himself trying to get the team to state."
With Heppner a senior, his low scores will be difficult to replace but there is a lot of young competition in the boys' golf program.
"From last year Isaac grabbed a hold of his position," Kofoed said. "He started out the year with an 88 or 87 and then fell in to a really good rhythm in the middle of May. Last week he was back in that mid-80s stage. Isaac parred the last four or five holes to shoot 78. He played 10 strokes better than last year. After his round we knew he was going to be in the conversation (of making it to state). Going into the playoff, Isaac was the first guy teeing off on 10. He had to punch out after his tee shot and had 225 yards to the green. He hit his rescue club 15 yards further than he expected and had a tough up and down and left it short. It was disappointing at that point, but he got himself in position. He can take away that he had an opportunity to get into a playoff. Isaac has come a long way.
"Doug had a 41 on his front nine and put himself in a hole," Kofoed said. "He had a four-putt before the rain delay. Doug hasn't quite figured out how to putt on Long Bow. He has to figure out ways to get up and down. When he does do that he'll be in position to shoot those 75ish scores.
"Charles was very steady for me this year," Kofoed continued. "He was the Westlake of last year. I can most likely expect out of Charles something in the low 80s. Sometimes there were spots where he was almost medalist. Charles shot a one over on the front nine and a 40 on the back nine. It was his first section tournament so you can't be mad about the way he played and grinded out a round. He could improve by five or six strokes with his short game and putting. He could be a guy with a 75 a handful of times next year."
For Parker and Brandon it was both had great experiences.
"For both of them it was the first time playing varsity for a majority of the year," Kofoed said. "Both Brandon and Parker had tougher starts to their rounds. You have to make mistakes to learn. They both tried to the best of their abilities. I hope Parker can learn from it. Brandon had a fun time playing golf courses he might not otherwise get to play."
For both Kofoed and Perreault the recipe for success is the same, getting out and playing this summer will determine what the Pirate teams do next season.
"I was very proud with the way we improved this season," Kofoed said. "The summer is the key for them. The sky is the limit for us the next few years."
Perreault said the same: "I was really proud of the girls this season in an abbreviated season and not getting to as many meets as we wanted. The girls worked hard and showed the dedication it took to be competitive at the end of the year. But the season just started. They need to get out this summer and make themselves better."
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