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Brian Wierima / Forum News Service, Published June 12 2013

Detroit Lakes defends its Class 2A state girls golf title

JORDAN, Minn. – The season of domination for the Detroit Lakes girls golf team came to an end in a way many thought it would, with the Lakers as Class 2A state champions for the second year in a row.

Not only did the Lakers clinch the state title by 31 strokes over second-place Minnewaska, they also had co-medalists in junior Natalie Roth and freshman Kate Smith, who each finished with a 108.

The path to winning their state title and completing their first undefeated season took a little longer than expected, after entering Tuesday’s second round at the Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan leading Minnewaska by 19 strokes.

A five-hour rain delay pushed back all of the boys and girls tee times and forced the Minnesota State High School League to trim the tournament’s final round to nine holes Wednesday.

But even Mother Nature couldn’t deny the Lakers, as DL netted a 448 after shooting a 297 Tuesday and a 151 nine-hole score Wednesday.

“There was a lot of pressure and expectations put on us all season and to finally win it all again, it’s a big relief,” said Smith, who also repeated as the Class 2A medalist.

The Lakers’ 19-stroke cushion looked even more comfortable when the thunderstorms forced the second round to nine holes.

The biggest intrigue heading into the second day was the race for medalist honors. Roth entered the day holding a two-stroke lead on Smith after shooting a 2-under 70.

Roth finished shooting a 2-over-par 38, while Smith shot an even-par 36, to tie with a 108.

The two Lakers missed birdie putts on the 18th green to ensure both would tie.

“I don’t know if it’s karma or what, that we both missed our putts on 18,” Smith said. “I never would wish Natalie to play bad, so I just went into today focused on playing well.”

Roth started out her round by making birdie on her first hole (which was hole 10, since the girls played the back nine and the boys the front nine).

That was enough to settle her nerves and play a solid 2-over 38.

“I was definitely anxious to get out there and play after that long rain delay, and making birdie on my first hole gave me a lot of confidence,” Roth said. “It’s just amazing to finish as (co-medalist). It’s just another item I can check off the list.”

It’s a list that is growing shorter and shorter overall for the Lakers, as they notched another goal by taking back-to-back titles.

Junior Trisa Hutchinson also was able to check off an item, after finishing as an all-state golfer by finishing seventh overall with a 114.

“It’s unbelievable and a feeling like one in a million,” Hutchinson said of state title No. 3 for the Lakers girls’ program. “Now, 295 is a big goal of ours. I just feel so lucky being on a team like this, and I am not taking this feeling for granted.”

Team scores: Detroit Lakes 448, Minnewaska 479, Pequot Lakes 484, Lake City 510, Providence Academy 525, Visitation 536, Hibbing 568, Fairmont 588.

Top 10 scores: 1 (tie), Roth, DL; Smith, DL, 108. 3, Stone, PL, 111. 4, Guggisberg, Minnewaska, 112. 5 (tie), Heggerston, PL; Janu, Minnewaska, 113. 7 (tie), Hutchinson, DL; Groom, St. Croix Lutheran; Heck, Visitation, 114. 10 (tie), Busker, DL; Peterson, Marshall, 119.

Other area finishers

DL: 18, Thompson 125. 18, Tschider 125.

Fergus Falls: 68, Niblock 145.

Park Rapids: 68, Dearstyne 145.

Perham: 16, Nelson 122. 31, Huus 128.

Pelican Rapids: 25, Bekkerus 127.

Wierima is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune