JORDAN — More solid play from several Iron Range girls golfers led to two top 10 finishes and another inside the top 20 at the conclusion of the Class A and Class AA state golf tournaments.
North Woods junior Coley Olson finished her fifth state tournament with a two-day 173, enough for seventh place.
Eveleth-Gilbert junior Taya Kwiatkowski was the top golfer for the Golden Bears in the Class AA meet, finishing tied for 10th with a two-day total of 161 (81-80). Her teammate, junior Mollie Albrecht, finished tied for 16th three strokes back of Kwiatkowski with a 164 (79-85).
Olson shot a 90 on day two, seven shots back from her 83 on day one to finish with a two-day 173, enough for seventh in the state.
Finishing inside the top eight, Olson earned medalist honors at the state tournament for the first time in her career. Grizzlies head coach Kandi Olson said that her star golfer really turned things up on the back nine holes.
“She had a pretty slow start to things today,” coach Olson said. “She just couldn’t get things to come together until she hit that 10th hole and then her game really started to come together for her.”
Finishing before some of the other top golfers on the leaderboard, Coley had to sweat it out as the final results came in to see if she would stay inside the top eight and in contention for a medal.
“She was definitely thrilled to medal this year and was really excited to see those final results. She knew that it was going to be really close if she made it or not and she was very relieved after all the scores came in.”
On Kwiatkowski breaking into the top 10, E-G head coach Cathy Larson said another solid back nine holes let the junior move up the scoreboard.
“Taya played really well on the back nine again today with a 36,” Bears head coach Cathy Larson said. “It was a big jump for Taya from last year’s 42nd place finish.”
On Albrecht’s play, Larson said the veteran golfer was more critical of herself on day two.
“Mollie is a little disappointed with her 85 today, her worst round of the year. She just had a couple of bad holes and continued struggling with her short game. However, Mollie had her best total at state, two strokes better than last year.”
With both of her top golfers seeing another state tournament, Larson says she’s looking forward to their senior season.
“I’m very proud of both of them. ... I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can do next year with the continued hard work and progress over the summer. They will both likely be playing in MGA (Minnesota Golf Association) events and tournaments this summer” and upping their game.
JORDAN — Iron Range golfers made their presence known Wednesday with a pair of top 16 finishes at the Class A and Class AA State Golf Tournaments.
Virginia golfer Bryce Wainio rolled in a putt from about 30 feet on his last hole, which helped him earn a tie for 16th at the Class AA tournament in Jordan.
“He had two good days,’’ said Virginia co-head coach Pat McBride. “It’s the best golf he’s played all spring. I think he just wanted it.’’
What was behind Wainio’s run to state and the success on the big stage?
“I played pretty well both days at sections and I think it just followed into this week,’’ the Mountain Iron-Buhl senior and Devils golfer said in a telephone interview.
The last-hole birdie (No. 9 on the course) enabled Wainio to card a 79 on day two and achieve his goal.
“My goal was just to shoot in the 70s both of the days so that was nice.’’
The 18-year-old said he felt some pressure on the first tee shot at state, but he was just more excited than anything. While the course didn’t exactly fit his game and getting around was a struggle at times, Wainio said, “I managed it really well and played well.’’
“It was awesome watching him,’’ McBride said. “His short game was fantastic. He’s a happy young man and so are his coaches.’’
Wainio will continue golfing this summer and plans to play at the University of Wisconsin Superior in the fall.
In the Class A Tournament in Becker, North Woods’ Sam Frazee helped lead his team to a sixth-place finish after firing a two-day score of 161. He carded a 79 on day one and an 82 on day two.
Frazee, a sophomore, finished 17-over par, which was good for an 11th-place tie.
For Eveleth-Gilbert in Class AA, junior Cody Stanisich finished in a tie for 62nd with a 36-hole score of 171. He fired a 86 one day one and did one better with an 85 on the final day.
His teammate Elliot Van Orsdel improved by two shots on day two to finish in 75th place.