Austin girls chasing Red Wing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2003

Despite some early struggles, Austin girls' golf coach Mark Anderson has been preaching patience to his squad all season. Judging from their scores over the last few weeks, it looks like it's starting to pay off.

The Packers shot a 349 Friday to place second after the first day of the Section 1AA tournament, only 12 strokes back of frontrunner Red Wing.

"The last four years, we've peaked about two weeks ago," Anderson said, "so I switched around the tougher part of our schedule for this season."

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"We were frustrated at first, but I told the girls to be patient, and now we're peaking at the right time."

The girls concurred, agreeing that they had indeed "brought their 'A' games today."

Claire Johnson showed that her season-low 80 at the Big Nine Conference meet was no fluke, shooting an 81 to tie for fourth-best score of the day.

"I try not to think about it too much," Johnson said of the roll she's been lately.

"She ground her way around the course today," Anderson said. "She stayed patient, like she has all year, knowing it was going to come for her, and it did."

The big star through nine holes though was senior Margaret Wagner, who hit the turn with a scorching 42.

"It felt like I was getting all of the ball," Wagner said. "My stroke just came together for me out there."

She came back to Earth on the front nine to finish with a 94, tying her best round of the season.

"Margaret really shot well out there at the beginning," Anderson said, "which is important because now she knows what she's capable for Tuesday."

Andrea Petersen was right around her season average with an 88 to hold down the # 2 position for Austin.

"I wish I would've shot better," Petersen said. "My putting wasn't great today."

Carissa Gabrielson posted Austin's third sub-90 round of the day with an 89, which was her low round of the year as well. Finishing out the Packer scoring was a 91 from Katelyn Rizzi.

"I'm really proud of them," Anderson said. "No one gave us the opportunity to even win the Big Nine, but we knew the kind of team we have here."

Faribault junior Katie Myos fired a 77 to lead all golfers.

Two-time defending state champion Red Wing shot a 337, led by top-five finishes from Angie Hartmann, who had a 79, and Katie Mettling, who tied Johnson with an 81.

"We're within striking distance of them," said Anderson, whose team was 27 strokes off their pace at this time last year.

"All we have to now is go out and play our round Tuesday and see if maybe they have an off-day."

The top eight teams and 12 individuals qualify for Tuesday's final round at Cannon Falls. Austin begins play at 10 a.m.


Team standings (top 8 advance) -- 1. Red Wing 337 2. AUSTIN 349 3. Century 361 4. Mayo 361 5. Owatonna 370 6. Winona 375 7. Faribault 377, 8. Lakeville 390; 9. Waseca 400 10. Northfield 402 11. Albert Lea 427 12. Farmington 430 13. Rosemount 444 14. New Prague 446 15. John Marshall 460 16. Eagan 474

AUSTIN (349) -- Claire Johnson 41-40--81, Andrea Petersen 45-43--88, Carissa Gabrielson 45-44--89, Katelyn Rizzi 45-46--91, Margaret Wagner 52-42--94, Noelle Weibelhaus 51-48--99

Top 5 -- 1. Katie Myos 77 (F) 2. Angie Hartmann 79 (RW) 3. Sarah Harper (Mayo) 80, 4. Claire Johnson (Austin) 81, 4. Katie Mettling (RW) 81

Individual Qualifers -- 1. Proehl 93 (Was) 2. Dallavalle 93 (North) 3. Cordes 94 (Farm) 4. Gahler 95 (Was) 5. Douglas 96 (North) 6. Woitas 98 (AL) 7. Proshek 99 (NP) 8. Kallal 102 (NP) 9. Hanson 103 (Was) 10. Rahn (Rose) 11. Smith 105 (Eagan) 12. Lamberty 106 (Farm) 12. Malecha 106 (North).