By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
Kylie Slavin did her part last season to officially put St. Michael-Albertville girls’ golf on the map.
Slavin – one of three senior golfers returning to the girls’ varsity squad – qualified as a junior for the 2012 Class 3A state tournament at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.
Slavin finished tied for 73rd out of 88 golfers, shooting a 2-day total of 191. It may not have been her best finish, but just her appearance made school history, becoming the first ever STMA girls’ golfer to qualify for state.
STMA girls’ head coach Mitch Harmoning said it was a stepping stone for both his senior leader and for the program.
“I told her last year that it didn’t matter where she finished at state. Just to qualify was gravy at that point.” Harmoning said. “Kylie hits the ball far off the tee. Very rarely you worry about her off the tee or when she hits her 3-wood off the fairway. It’s her short game that will tell the story how she finishes.”
Maddie Malone and Megan Cichos join Slavin as senior returning starters. Also returning are sophomores Kate Drimel and Karli Buckmeier. The sixth and final spot is still up in the air. Sophomore Lucy Arndt may fill the void after Sam Wortman graduated with all-conference honorable mention honors.
“We have wonderful potential,” Harmoning said. “The girls play good golf at times. Then there are times they ruin their scorecard with one or two bad holes. There is no room for that when you play competitive golf.”
The Knights finished a year ago fourth in the Mississippi 8 conference and Slavin is the only returning all-conference player.
STMA’s first matchup is scheduled for April 9 at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker. All six M-8 teams; Big Lake, Buffalo, Cambridge-Isanti, Monticello and Rogers will compete in the 9-hole match starting at 4 p.m.
Fore takes over for boys’ golf
Mike Fore takes over this season for Tim Anfenson as new head coach of the STMA boys’ golf squad.
A year removed from what Anfenson called a disappointing showing at the Section 7AAA tournament in Hinckley. The Knights hope to place higher than the fourth-place conference finish a year ago.
Fore realizes he has his work cut out for him with the Knights graduating four seniors, including all-conference golfer Tanner Martin. Brock Green, Erik Waldeland and Tom Juntunen also were fixtures on last year’s squad.
“We have five kids back and four of them played a decent amount last year,” Fore said. “There are some very young kids of the 26 that came out to tryouts. I’m sure early in the year we will have some inconsistency.”
Senior Ryan Swenson finished as an all-conference honorable mention last season and will be STMA’s top returning golfer.
Other experienced golfers are seniors Zac and Matt Borgen and Brett Marshall. The fifth and sixth spots are still a question mark.
“I’ll take the best six golfers no matter how old they are,” Fore said. “I’m excited for this opportunity to coach. I love golfing and played competitively. I’m hoping as a coach the team continues to improve their scores and we have a shot at competing for the conference title.”
Rogers will likely be the favorite once again heading into the season. The Royals are two years removed from a Class 3A state championship and have won the conference each of the past five years.
STMA’s first scheduled matchup is April 10 against Monticello at the Monticello Country Club with start time at noon.