April 28, 2005 at 8:18 a.m.
Pine City 214
A young power is quietly emerging on the golf course. Still, as quiet as they have been, head coach Jeanne Hawkinson has certainly took notice. They were supposed to make their move next year. Instead, the Chisago Lakes girls golf team has turned out to be early bloomers, picking up two very impressive conference wins over the last week.
In addition, the Wildcats stormed the course in Cambridge and finished fourth overall at the Purple Hawk Invitational.
Last Wednesday, the Wildcats disposed of Pine City on the road, defeating the Dragons by nine strokes.
Eighth-grader Krista Liebsch stole the show by posting the ‘Cats best score, shooting a first round 48. Liebsch just missed medalist honors. Megan Carlson of Pine City shot a 47.
In addition, Jenna Merry and Andrea Nickelson registered in the early 50’s. Merry finished the round with a 50 while Nickelson carded a 52. Rounding out the rest, Jaime Tschida posted a 55 and Megan Corradi and Krista Swanson both shot 56’s.
It was a good start to the conference season,” mentioned Hawkinson, Chisago Lakes girls golf head coach. “I felt very good about how we played. It’s nice to have a team of all returning letterwinners. Krista Liebsch had a great round of 48 showing even as an eighth-grader, she belongs on the varsity squad.”
And what a squad it is. Of the six varsity golfers, all six finished within eight strokes of one another, showing Hawkinson, and the rest of the conference, that the ‘Cats balance is well ahead of schedule.
“We are very competitive amongst ourselves and that makes us more consistent and determined as a team,” mentioned Hawkinson. “The girls not only want to do well individually, but they want to go far as a team. Milaca, North Branch and Pine City all finished better than us in the conference last year. Pine City lost some players but Milaca and North Branch are still tough teams. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Chisago Lakes 205
Pine City 214
Krista Liebsch 48
Jenna Merry 50
Andrea Nickelson 52
Jaime Tschida 55
Megan Corradi 56
Krista Swanson 56
Chisago Lakes 192
Every conference has different levels of competition. In girls golf, when you talk about the top teams, or team, Milaca is always mentioned. To be blunt, they have been the cream of the crop for several seasons. The Wolves are what other teams strive to be.
That’s exactly why, when the Wildcats beat Milaca by a stroke last Thursday at home, Hawkinson and her Wildcats were ready to retire the clubs right there. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but make no mistake about it, the team definitely jumped up a level in the conference pecking order after their victory.
“Milaca has been very tough to beat these last few years,” said Hawkinson. “Having a home course advantage put us in a state of mind where we were thinking we could outplay them, and we did.”
They did indeed.
All six Chisago golfers carded scores of 54 or lower as their balance took over. Jenna Merry finished with the best round of the day for Chisago, shooting a 45. Lacey Hoeck of Milaca won medalist honors with a 44.
After Merry, Megan Corradi came in with a 48 on the day, while Jaime Tschida added a 49 and Andrea Nickelson shot a 50. Krista Liebsch and Krista Swanson rounded out the Chisago scorecard with a 52 and 54 respectively.
As for Milaca, the Wolves had three players finish in the 40’s. However, their fourth score turned out to be a 56 which hurt them.
“I wasn’t surprised by the scores of their (Milaca’s) number one and two players, but I didn’t know what to expect from the rest of their team,” mentioned Hawkinson. “Jenna Merry showed why she’s one of our top players and a great competitor. I was very pleased with Megan Corradi and Jaime Tschida who have been very solid on the course. They really came through for us. Andrea Nickelson showed her leadership by rounding out the top four and keeping us under 200. I’m excited with our team. They are not only great athletes, but super kids to work with. We have potential for this year and for the next few years to come.”
The win moved the Wildcats conference record to 2-0 with wins over Milaca and Pine City already under their belt.
Chisago Lakes 192
Pine City 193
Jenna Merry 45
Megan Corradi 48
Jaime Tschida 49
Andrea Nickelson 50
Krista Liebsch 52
Krista Swanson 54
Wildcats finish fourth at Purple Hawk
After putting the conference on notice, the Wildcats broke outside of conference play last Monday and put some of the best programs in the area on notice as well at the Purple Hawk Invite.
Chisago finished with a score of 402, putting them tied with Centennial. The ‘Cats won the tie-breaker with their fifth score, jumping them up to fourth place overall. Cretin-Derham Hall finished first with a 381.
It was a strong performance by the Wildcats in horrible conditions. Fighting the wind, and sometimes rain, Jenna Merry still managed to shoot a 98 over 18 holes. Andrea Nickelson wasn’t far behind, carding a 100, and Krista Liebsch and Megan Corradi each shot 102’s.
“The girls basically froze their butts off. It was windy and the girls still played well,” said Hawkinson. “They almost broke 400 which is always our goal. Milaca finished third, two strokes ahead of us, so we almost beat them again and this time it was on the road. The girls really played well.”
Making the performance even more impressive is the fact that last season, Chisago Lakes finished 15th overall with a team score of 486- with basically the same line-up. How things can change in one year.
“No, not at all,” commented Hawkinson, when asked whether she expected her team to play this well this fast. “I thought we had some potential, but I expected it more for next year even. They’re just playing great and with a lot of confidence. We’re really excited about things.”
And they should be.
The Wildcats plan on keeping it going this week with another big invite on Monday when they take part in the Forest Lake Invitational. Before that, the ‘Cats host Foley on Thursday.
Purple Hawk Invitational
Team Results (Top 5)-
1. CDH 381
2. Duluth Marshall 383
3. Milaca 400
4. Chisago Lakes 402*
5. Centennial 402
11. North Branch 428
*Won on a fifth score tie-breaker
Chisago Lakes results-
Jenna Merry 98
Andrea Nickelson 100
Krista Liebsch 102
Megan Corradi 102
Ellen Watters 107
Jaime Tschida 116
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