Albert Lea girls use experience to build
Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015
JORDAN — Although the Albert Lea girls’ golf team finished eighth out of eight teams, the Tigers used the state meet as a building block for the future.
“We all did our best and had fun, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Albert Lea junior Bailey Sandon. “I never thought we would make it all the way to the state tournament, so I think it’s pretty cool that we made it here as a team.”
Samantha Nielsen led the Tigers with a score of 181, Natalie Nafzger and Sandon scored in the 40s each round, and the Tigers produced a 767 team score Wednesday on Day 2 of the Class AA state golf tournament at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
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With all 19 members of its roster returning next year, Albert Lea coach Shawn Riebe said the team will be more experienced and used to playing practice rounds and seeing things that aren’t at most regular-season meets like large numbers of spectators and marshals at each hole.
“The little things like how we prepare and deal with pressure are going to make a difference,” he said. “We’ll look forward to getting back here next year and improving our performance. It was our goal all year to be here, and it’s a huge honor for us.”
After shooting a 43 on the front nine and a 46 on the back nine of Day 1, Nielsen shot a 41 — her best round of the tournament — on the front nine of Day 2, and finished with a 51 on the back to take 57th place.
Nafzger took 67th place with a score of 186, and Sandon filled the Tigers’ third scoring slot with a 189 for 70th.
“It was nice to see them play well here for all four rounds, and they’ll play a lot this summer,” Riebe said.
Sandon said Riebe helped improve her swing.
“It started off good, but in the middle of the season it was getting a little bit wonky,” she said. “We started to fix it, and it’s been getting a lot better. I’ve been able to hit the ball farther and straighter.”
Sara Rasmussen rounded out Albert Lea’s scoring with a 211 for 81st place.
Emma Loch scored a 221, and Kayla Jensen posted a 236.