By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette
FOREST LAKE – Sloppy course conditions did little to slow down the Stillwater girls’ golf team in Tuesday’s Section 4AAA tournament at Tanners Brook Golf Course.
The victory earned the Ponies a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament, where they played second a year ago and third in 2010. The Class AAA state tournament is scheduled for Bunker Hills on June 12-13.
The Ponies turned in a score of 341 to win by a whopping 35 shots over second-place Cretin-Derham Hall (376), which was led by individual medalist Celia Kuenster. The Raiders sophomore fired a 1-under par 71 to finish six shots in front of Stillwater’s Cassie Deeg and Abbie Mozzetti of White Bear Lake, who each carded a 77.
"They played pretty well in pretty crappy conditions," Stillwater coach Mike O’Rourke said. "They had about eight inches of rain since Thursday. The course was pretty much all casual water and then you add the steady 20-miles-per-hour wind with gusts to 30 and it was no surprise that 93 qualified to go to state."
The top five finishers who are not part of the first-place team advance to state as individuals, although all four of Stillwater’s scorers shot 92 or better.
Hailey Boner finished fifth overall with an 85 and teammate Alex Zeuli was two shots back with an 87. Anna Kaul also played well while recording a 92 to complete the scoring.
Stillwater’s performance was so dominating the Ponies could have played without Deeg (Nebraska) and Boner (North Dakota State University) – both Division I golf recruits – and still won the section title by six shots using its four highest scores.
"Our girls held it together pretty well," O’Rourke said. "Cassie played steady and Alex and Anna Kaul played well. Hopefully this will be the end of pretty miserable weather and we can play state under conditions that will reflect the best individual and team this year."
In addition to Kuenster, who shared the individual state title with Deeg a year ago, White Bear Lake’s Mozzetti, Hannah Brodt (88) of Roseville, Natalie Klasinski (92) of North St. Paul and Kelly Ekeroth (93) of Mahtomedi qualified for the state tournament as individuals.
1. Stillwater 341; 2. Cretin-Derham Hall 376; 3. Roseville 379; 4. Hill-Murray 387; 5. Mahtomedi 388; 6. White Bear Lake 392; 7. North St. Paul 416; 8. Tartan 420; 9. St. Paul Harding 506; 10. St. Paul Como Park 506; 11. St. Paul Johnson 545.
Individual state qualifiers (par 72)
Celia Kuenster (C-DH) 71, Abbie Mozzetti (WBL) 77, Hannah Brodt (Ros) 88, Natalie Klasinski (NSP) 92 and Kelly Ekeroth (Mah) 93.
Cassie Deeg 77, Hailey Boner 85, Alex Zeuli 87, Anna Kaul 92, Erin Thiets 94 and Amanda Wolf 97.