Kindred's Avery Bartels, Fargo Oak Grove claim Class B state girls golf championships
Kindred junior Avery Bartels won her third straight individual crown while the Grovers earned their first team title since 2017
MINOT, N.D. — For the third consecutive North Dakota Class B girls golf season, Kindred’s Avery Bartels collected the title of individual state champion while the Fargo Oak Grove Grovers won their first team championship since 2017 on Tuesday at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said Kindred head coach Kory Bartels. “(Avery) puts a lot of time in. She played very well with just one bogey yesterday and a few on the front today. But, she bounced back with birdies after all of them so that was fun to see.
“(Grafton’s) Ainsley McLain gave her a good run on the back nine but Avery responded with birdies on 16 and 17 to keep the deficit far enough away. It was fun to see. She played very well.”
Avery finished the two-day tournament with a score of 142 — 69 on Day 1 and 73 on Day 2 — six strokes ahead of runner-up McLain at 148 (76-72). Des Lacs-Burlington’s Lauryn Keller rounded out the top three at 159 (75-84).
North Star’s Elle Nichols, Carrington’s Kacie Rexin and Emma Ketterling of Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter were locked in a three-way tie for fourth at 160.
The state championship is the third in a row for Avery, now a junior who earned her first in the 2021 spring season.
Avery's final-round score of 73 was one above the Souris Valley par of 72. Despite McLain — who was voted 2022 Senior Athlete of the Year by the North Dakota High School Coaches Association — achieving par in second place, Avery's opening-round score of 69 — and five birdies in her second round — helped her build and maintain her edge throughout the tournament to finish at 2-under.
Having won the last two, Kory noted that Avery knew she would be getting everyone’s best shot as they tried to dethrone her, citing the chase given by the senior McLain.
“You have the target on your back,” Kory said. “Not that they don’t like Avery, but everybody has the goal of beating her, so she is getting everybody’s best. The last two years, Ainsley McLain gave (Avery) her best both years and really pushed her.”
In team competition, Oak Grove earned its first state title since 2017 as the Grovers eked out a one-stroke win over the Heart River Cougars with a two-day total of 713. Napoleon/G-S finished in third, three strokes behind the Grovers at 716.
“It was an amazing day,” said Grovers head coach Laine Brantner. “The girls all finished really strong, which was impressive. Some of them played really well, some of them didn’t play their best, but when it came down to the end, they all just stepped up. The finish was amazing.”
With the state title on the line, senior Sophie Brantner shouldered the responsibility of earning the win for her team.
“Sophie was the last one on the course for us,” Laine said. “She made about a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, then made about an 8-footer for par and made it. So, we maintained a two-shot lead going into 18.”
After missing her first try at a putt, Sophie was in a must-make situation for her final putt of the day. A miss would mean a tie with the tiebreaker going in Heart River’s favor.
She made it, excelling under the extra pressure.
“She stepped up there and knocked it in,” Laine said. “It was just an amazing finish. They had some stands set up around the 18 green and it was just fun to see the girls, all of them, in the pressure. Everyone knew the last several holes that it was close. To be able to finish strong and play well to win a state title was really fun to watch as a coach.”
The Brantner sisters — Sophie, Josie and Sylvie — were the top three golfers for the Grovers with scores of 169 (83-86), 176 (88-88) and 180 (89-91) respectively. Lauren Holstad was the fourth score carded with a total of 188 (93-95).
Kindred (721) and Des Lacs-Burlington (742) capped off the top five in team totals.
The fourth place for Kindred was just five short of third place, the goal they set heading into the event. Kory, though, was still happy with the performance.
“We had hoped for a little better start (Monday), but we bounced back today and had some good scores,” he said. “Overall, I think with the team we had we went out and did our best and we talked about that. We can live with that.”
Sole Kindred senior Charli McQuillan ended her Vikings golf career with the tournament.
“Our motto today was to play for her,” Kory said.
Oak Grove coach Laine Brantner was voted 2022 NDHSCA Coach of the Year.
“The honor is really a reflection of the girls,” he said. “I don’t hit a golf shot, the girls hit the golf shots. Not me. It’s real fun to watch them continue to improve and do well and not just the ones here at state but all the girls. We have 26 girls on the team and it’s fun to see them improve. That’s really what it’s about for me as a coach is to see them continue to get better.”
1. Fargo Oak Grove 353-360—713; 2. Heart River 355-359—714; 3. Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 363-353—716; 4. Kindred 362-359—721; 5. Des Lacs-Burlington 363-379—742; 6. Grafton 384-387—771; 7. Linton/Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 388-387—775; 8. Carrington 398-386—784; 9. Rugby 395-398—793; 10. Park River 399-400—799; 11. Bottineau 414-401—815; 12. Nedrose 416-409—825; 13. Sargent County 462-412—838; 13. Hatton-Northwood 412-426—838; 15. Hazen 429-416—845; 16. Kenmare 438-444—882; 17. Stanley 454-436—890; 18. Bowman County 446-447—893
Individual top 20
1. Avery Bartels, Kindred, 69-73—142; 2. Ainsley McLain, Grafton, 76-72—148; 3. Lauryn Keller, Des Lacs-Burlington, 75-84—159; 4. Elle Nicholas, North Star, 80-80—160; 4. Kacie Rexin, Carrington, 82-78—160; 4. Emma Ketterling, Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter, 82-78—160; 7. Libby Dulmage, Rugby, 79-84—163; 8. Trista Bilden, Hatton-Northwood, 81-84—165; 9. Sophie Ketterling, Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter, 86-80—166; 10. Sophie Brantner, Fargo Oak Grove, 83-86—169; 11. Mackenzee Schneider, Heart River, 83-87—170; 12. Paige Hulm, Linton/Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock, 85-88—173; 13. Megan Robb, Heart River, 87-87—174; 14. Laila Christianson, Des Lacs-Burlington, 86-89—175; 15. Molly Robb, Heart River, 91-85—176; 15. Hudsyn Hubrig, Hankinson-Lidgerwood, 88-88—176; 15. Charli McQuillan, Kindred, 83-93—176; 15. Josie Brantner, Fargo Oak Grove, 88-88—176; 19. Sylvie Brantner, Fargo Oak Grove, 89-91—180; 20. Sadie Neustel, Sargent County, 92-90—182