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Detroit Lakes girls win state golf title by 26 strokes

L-R: McKenna Burhans, Shelby Busker, Anna Cihak, Maddie Herzog, McKenna Mallow and Evan Westrum make the traditional leap in to the pond on the 18th hole at Ridges at Sand Creek after winning the Class AA state championship. Robert Williams / Forum News Service1 / 4
Anna Cihak joined her teammates Maddie Herzog and Shelby Busker on the individual championship podium at state with a sixth place finish. Robert Williams / Forum News Service2 / 4
Senior Maddie Herzog makes her final approach of her career to the 18th green in Jordan. Herzog has been on three state championship teams and will be playing next fall for North Dakota State University in Fargo. Robert Williams / Forum News Service3 / 4
Shelby Busker was the most consistent Laker over the two-day state tournament finishing on the podium in third place overall. Robert Williams / Forum News Service4 / 4

JORDAN, Minn.—For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Detroit Lakes girls golf team captured the Minnesota Class 2A state championship breaking open a tight race to win by 26 strokes Wednesday at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course.

"I'm glad we got the championship, that's all I can ask for," said departing senior Maddie Herzog. "I'm glad the team played well and couldn't be happier."

Herzog has watched the likes of Kate Smith and Abby Schramel finish their senior seasons in Jordan the past two years and was relieved to be able to do the same as the Lakers won for the third straight year and seventh time in 11 overall appearances.

"I made that last putt and I was just kind of wow, I"m done; this is it," Herzog said.

Three Lakers reached the individual championship podium. Herzog placed eighth with a two-round score of 155. The sophomore duo of Shelby Busker and Anna Cihak finished higher on the podium giving Herzog more relief to know the dynasty is in good hands.

"I'm incredibly happy for them," she said. " I'm overjoyed. It just proves that they'll be able to do it again next year. I'm just super excited for them."

Busker placed third overall with a score of 148 behind the superb play of the Red Wing tandem of Sophia Yoemans (129) and Leah Herzog (137).

"It was a little bit of a surprise;" said Busker. "I was really hoping to make the podium again, but being that high up felt really good."

Yoemans score of 129 broke Kate Smith's MSHSL record of 139 set in 2016 by a surprising 10 strokes. Runner-up Leah Herzog's score also beat the mark of Smith, the five-time state champion.

Busker played consistently down the fairways and stayed out of trouble to polish off her best finish at state with two years of eligibility remaining.

"She's just an amazing player," Cihak said. "She's so consistent and if she has one bad shot she forgets about it."

"Tee to green, Shelby was just incredible," said Detroit Lakes head coach Kris Smith. "She was machine-like out there."

McKenna Mallow, an equally important player in the No. 4 spot all season, placed 51st with a score of 183 giving DL three returning starters with multiple years of state experience and two rookies to build around

The starting foursome got into the groove at the turn with Cihak thriving in the anchor position, Busker at two and the experienced Herzog in the three spot creating some breathing room for their head coach.

"It feels good, maybe I'm just relieved," Smith said. "I was getting relaxed on the back side when I heard we were up by 14 strokes. It looked easy at the end on the scoreboard."

Marshall (664) placed second behind the Lakers (638) in the team standings with Yoemans, Leah Herzog and the Wingers finishing third one stroke back with a score of 665. Red Wing was the only team to interrupt the Lakers' streak at state winning the title in 2015.

Lakers boys place a close second

Holy Family Catholic erased a one-stroke Detroit Lakes advantage at the turn to win the Minnesota boys state Class 2A golf championship by three strokes over the Lakers Wednesday.

"Everybody is disappointed, but second in the state is awful good," Lakers head coach Bob Gorden said. "We kind of mudded up 18 for two days, yesterday was plus-five and today was plus-one, but you can think back a shot here or there. Three strokes is three strokes. I told the kids we can shoot well today and get beat and we shot well and got beat. It was a fun season; I'm going to miss those seniors and they battled today."

The finishing hole was troublesome to the last lip-out of Wyatt Blomseth's career, but the Lakers' No. 1 golfer nearly won the tournament with a pair of incredible shots late in the round.

Blomseth targeted the par-three, 15th hole with backspin missing a hole-in-one by two inches as the ball reversed towards a potential eagle. On 16, his approach shot on the par-five was nearly destined for eagle as it just rolled past the cup. Had those two shots fell, the difference was four strokes. That is the game of golf.

"It was a lot of fun and it was a grind out there," Blomseth said. "Realistically, it was our best score of the season for two days by quite a bit. We ended off on a pretty good note; it's just a little unfortunate that we weren't able to finish it off."

Blomseth reached the championship podium placing eighth overall. Ryan Paskey placed 12th.

"Wyatt had a great season and Ryan Paskey had a really good season," Gorden said.

Collin Ginnaty was 34th and Ben Unruh finished in 40th place as the Lakers' four seniors led the team in the biggest meet of the year.

Hunter Burnside placed 40th in a tie with Unruh and Lukas Justesen was 75th in his first state tournament appearance.

DL's runner-up team finish is the second in school history to go with the three state championships. The difference was minimal as Holy Family found a way to grab the lead late and shoot a combined score of 600 to the Lakers' 603.

"I said somebody was going to make a mistake and we made a couple mistakes and that was the difference between winning and losing," said Gorden.

Section 8 medalist Nate Deziel of East Grand Forks polished off an impressive senior season winning the individual state title by one stroke over Derek Hitchner of The Blake School.

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