North Dakota state girls golf championships: Kraft cards 1st-ever 3-peat

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - When it comes to state tournaments, Jamestown High School senior Laura Kraft has seen just about everything. But on Tuesday, the two-time defending state champion did something neither she, nor the entire state of North Dakota, ...

Another Kraft-y win
Jamestown's Laura Kraft watches a drive Tuesday during the North Dakota State Class A Girls Golf Tournament in Jamestown. Photo by John M. Steiner / Forum Communications Co.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - When it comes to state tournaments, Jamestown High School senior Laura Kraft has seen just about everything.

But on Tuesday, the two-time defending state champion did something neither she, nor the entire state of North Dakota, had ever witnessed.

Kraft drained a two-foot par putt on the 18th hole at Jamestown Country Club to become the first-ever three-time state girls' golf champion after fighting off a charging Sarah Storandt, of Fargo Shanley, down the stretch.

"There was definitely some excitement and adrenaline going, "she said. "Knowing that there is not much left between me and making history was really, really exciting."

Kraft, who will be attending the University of Missouri next year to join the Tigers women's golf team, shot three strokes worse than she did in the opening round, but her five-stroke cushion entering the day paid off.


"It was agony on the golf course to watch it," said JHS coach and Laura's father Dean Kraft. "It was pretty much just her out there. She kind of shoed me away and took care of business herself. It's a great accomplishment." ... You kind of hope there are girls that look at that and say, 'I want to do that someday.'"

Laura Kraft clung to a five-stroke lead at the turn after shooting an even-par 36 on the front nine, but she hit a bit of a speed bump on her next two holes.

The West Region champ pulled her drives on both the 10th and 11th holes, which eventually led to back-to-back bogeys, but a par on No. 12 and a birdie on No. 13 got her back on track.

"I was just telling myself to think of it as every other tournament," Laura Kraft said. "I just had to take a deep breathe and just keep going."

Storandt matched Laura Kraft's 36 on the front nine, but jumped out with three straight pars on the back, to cut the lead to three strokes.

The Shanley senior got to within two strokes, but Laura Kraft wasn't about to let the opportunity to make history slip through her fingers.

"Coming into today, I realized that Sarah (Storandt) was not going to back down," Laura Kraft said. "Sarah is a great player and I have to give her a lot of credit."

The third and final state title for Kraft capped off perhaps the greatest high school girls' golf career the state has ever had, but Kraft said it hasn't really hit her yet.


"I think about a week from now I'm going to start bawling in my house, but right now it's really just kind of a sigh of relief," she said. "I'm very happy with how things turned out."

Storandt and her teammates were also in the hunt for the state team title, but Bismarck Century shot the lowest team score for the second day in a row to walk away with the team title.

"When you pour your heart and soul into something, like we all have for four or five years, you always want the end result to be on top," said Patriots coach Lynn Gress. "It means a lot."

The Patriots, comprised entirely of seniors, nipped Minot by three strokes, 674-677.

"It really came down to our depth as a team," Gress said. "It basically won us a state title."

Century had four players finish in the top 11, including Alexa Dvorak who finished with a team-best score of 160, which was good enough to finish in a tie for fourth.

The Majettes had two golfers finish in the top four - Emma Kusick (3rd) and Danielle Foster (T4th) - but no one else finished higher than 16th.

Jamestown cut 12 strokes off their opening round 384 and got a solid 93 from seventh-grader Sierra Bennion. The first-year golfer struggled on Monday, shooting a 106, but bounced back to shoot the second-best JHS score of the day.


"Sierra had a much better round," Dean Kraft said. "Her two scores are almost identical as to what Laura shot in her first state tournament."

Maria LeFevre, who opened with a 97, followed up with a 99 on Tuesday, while Alyssa Mangin improved by three strokes with a 105. The team finished seventh with a two-day total of 756.

"It was really good just to see the steady improvement of the team all the way through," said Dean Kraft. "Sometimes you do that and then you go to the state tournament and lay an egg. We haven't done that. Something has just kind of clicked for our team the last three or four years where we really play our best golf at the end of the year."

At Jamestown Country Club

Team results

1, Bismarck Century 338-336-674; 2, Minot 340-337-677; 3, Fargo Shanley 346-340-686; 4, Dickinson 353-358-711; 5, Fargo Davies 364-362-726; 6, Grand Forks Red River 378-366-744; 7, Jamestown 384-372-756; 8, West Fargo 391-381-772; 9, Fargo North 392-383-775; 10, Williston 394-388-782; 11, Fargo South 406-407-813; 12, Mandan 420-409-829; 13, Grand Forks Central 414-430-844.

Individual results

1, Laura Kraft, Jamestown, 72-75-147; 2, Sarah Storandt, Shanley, 77-73-150; 3, Emma Kusick, Minot, 79-76-155; T4, Alexa Dvorak, Century, 79-81-160; T4, Danielle Foster, Minot, 79-81-160; T6, McKenzie McMillan, Century, 82-87-169; T6, Rachel Jahner, Dickinson, 83-86-169; 8, Jenna Wellenstein, Dickinson, 84-87-171; T9, Haley Thomas, Shanley, 87-86-173; T9, Adrianna Harris, Century, 88-85-173; T11, Anna Helmers, Mandan, 86-88-174; T11, Krissy Aasen, Century, 89-85-174; 13, Jennifer Marsh, Davies, 88-87-175; 14, JoDee Wheeler, Red River, 90-86-176; 15, Ashley Bixby, West Fargo, 89-89-178; T16, Liz Strom, Shanley, 89-0-179; T16, Brooklyn Bender, Minot, 87-92-179; 18, Kathleen Marsh, Davies, 88-92-180; T19, Allyson Meyer, Davies, 90-91-181; T19, Kayla Barke, Williston, 91-90-181; T19, Megan Larson, Century, 95-86-181.


22, Savonnah Haselhorst, Wahpeton, 88-94-182; T23, Haili Duchscherer, Minot, 95-88-183; T23, Katie Nelson, Shanley, 95-85-183; T26, Morgan Kathrein, Dickinson, 95-91-186; T26, Callah Nelson, North, 97-89-186; T28, Riana Cooper, Dickinson, 91-96-187; T28, Ashley Knecht, Red River, 92-95-187; T28, Maggi Ferry, Red River, 96-91-187; 31, Cassidy St. Germain, South, 91-97-188; 32, Madison Gemar, Davies, 96-92-190; 33, Lexi Lennon, West Fargo, 100-91-191; 34, Becky Martin, GFC, 95-98-193; T35, Cari Zavalney, Williston, 99-95-194; T35, Lauren Johnson, West Fargo, 98-95-194; T35, Dani Yon, Dickinson, 100-94-194; 38, Addie Long, North, 100-95-195; 39, Brittany Lingbeck, North, 98-98-196.

40, Maria LeFevre, JHS, 98-99-197; 21, Alexis Caoili, Red River, 100-98-198; T42, Abby Holmen, Red River, 105-94-199; T42, Sierra Bennion, JHS, 106-93-199; T44, Hannah Ohm, North, 97-103-200; T44, Taylor Lund, GFC, 101-99-200; T44, Caremella Johnson, Minot, 102-98-200; T47, Keely Spiess, North, 100-101-201; T47, Bailey Gemar, Davies, 105-96-201; T49, Courtney Kosir, South, 100-102-202; T49, Abby Wilt, Williston, 103-99-202; T51, Breanna Benjamin, Minot, 102-101-203; T51, Kira Haag, Dickinson, 104-99-203; 53, Nicole Carew, Shanley, 102-103-205; T54, Cali Halverson, Red River, 104-104-208; T54, Sydnie Mongeon, Mandan, 107-101-208; T56, Lexi Wasem, West Fargo, 104-105-209; T56, Mandy Boyle, Shanley, 108-101-209; 58, Anna Peterson, Williston, 101-109-210; T59, Alyssa Mangin, 108-105-213; T59, Irelyn Huntley, Williston, 109-104-213.

T61, Brittany Rheault, West Fargo, 105-109-214; 63, Katie Unterseher, South, 105-110-215; 64, Laura Olson, South, 113-104-217; 65, Hanna Berg, North, 112-106-218; 66, Mercedes Mata, Mandan, 113-107-220; 67, Shaylee Ferguson, GFC, 109-116-225; 68, Sydney Lund, GFC, 109-117-226; T69, Chelsey Buth, West Fargo, 116-111-227; T69, Rachel Anderson, Williston, 118-119-237; 72, T69, Kayla Helbling, Mandan, 114-113-227; 72, Abi Lindgren, GFC, 128-120-248; 73, Sarah Deyle, South, 126-124-250; T74, Lexa Brossart, Davies, 120-131-251; T74, Katie Sigurdson, GFC, 129-122-251; 76, Brianne Hirchert, Mandan, 128-140-268; 77, Kala Senger, Mandan, WD.

David Griswold writes for the Jamestown Sun, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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