Austin tired of chasing Red Wing in section girls golf

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Most teams would be satisfied with a 17-1 record and a second place finish at sections. Not the Austin girls' golf team however, especially as long as the team in front of them always seems to be Red Wing.

"They've been the dominant team in the state the last two years," said fifth year head coach Mark Anderson, "and they should still be the team to beat this year."

The Packers will hardly be slouches either, with only one starter missing from last year's Big Nine runner-up. While Brittany Bertilson has been terrorizing the links for Florida Gulf Coast University this spring, the rest of her teammates from 2002 will be back and focused on having another successful season.

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"With Brittany gone, the top spot's up for grabs, and we probably won't know who that is until our first meet." Anderson said.

There are plenty of candidates. The Packers have the luxury of two returning All-Conference golfers in seniors Claire Johnson and Carissa Gabrielson. In addition, Noelle Weibelhaus, like Johnson a four-year varsity golfer, and Andrea Petersen both earned honorable mention All-Conference recognition. With Emily Lorenzen figuring into the mix as well, Austin has a veteran group who should continue to be a tough out for the rest of the Big Nine and beyond.

"We know what to expect this year," said Johnson, "so we're definitely looking forward to the season."

"We've got a deep team with a lot of experience," said Weibelhaus, "and we've improved every year, so we should do really well once the season starts."

"Everybody's young in our conference," Anderson said, "but I look for Owatonna and Mayo to be sleepers, plus you've got Century, who beat us out at the conference tournament last year."

Despite the wealth of competition, all eyes are still focused on one particular team.

"We've got a home meet with Red Wing this year," said Anderson, "and it's definitely been circled on our calendar for a while."

"Our team goal is still to win sections," said Gabrielson, "and since we have almost everybody back, we have a good shot at doing that."

Austin will also host the first day of the sectional tournament at the Austin Country Club, which should be another advantage for the Packers.

"We have the experience," Anderson said, "it's just a matter of translating that into success out on the course."

They begin their season April 11th against Mankato East.