Springfield’s Callie Wersal a runaway winner at state golf meet, leads team to 3rd place finish

Springfield girls, Sleepy Eye United boys both take 3rd at state meet

Staff photo by Jeremy Behnke
Springfield’s Callie Wersal tees off on the 10th hole at the Class A Girls’ State Golf Tournament on Wednesday in Becker.

Staff photo by Jeremy Behnke Springfield’s Callie Wersal tees off on the 10th hole at the Class A Girls’ State Golf Tournament on Wednesday in Becker.

BECKER — Callie Wersal has always wanted to win a state golf title. On Wednesday, Wersal accomplished that feat and with some room to spare.

Wersal finished the Class A state girls’ golf meet with a score of 155, five strokes better than her closest competitors, Heidi Guttormson of Minneota and Sophie Gray of Legacy Christian Academy at 160. She also helped Springfield to a third-place finish at the Class A meet at Pebble Creek as the Tigers had a two-day score of 701. BOLD won the event 693, followed by Fillmore Central (701).

“It’s really overwhelming and kind of unbelievable,” she said. “We mainly focused on winning as a team, I knew I could rank high as an individual, we knew coming in that we were up 7 and I was up 2. What made me kept persevering was knowing that every shot was big for our team.”

As for the Tigers, they led coming into Wednesday’s play by 7 strokes, but a tough back 9 hurt them. Still, they have nothing to be disappointed about in their-third place finish.

“In the moment, it was kind of heartbreaking because we were leading going into the back 9,” coach Dillon Schultz said. “I kind of could see the writing on the wall about halfway through the back 9 that it wasn’t going to be our day. My heart was hurting for the girls, but when the dust cleared, we get to go home with some hardware, that’s been our goal the last three years. It puts a smile on your face at the end of the day.”

Jena Roiger finished 13th overall with a 174. Mackenzie Lothert had a total of 186, followed by Makenna Winkelman (187). Shylyn Lothert (192) and Anna Plotz (198) also competed for the Tigers but their scores didn’t count towards the team total.

New Ulm Cathedral seventh-grader had a memorable debut. She had a two-day total of 188, good enough for 38th overall. Cedar Mountain’s Erika Bock shot a 200 to finish 58th overall.

SEU boys finish 3rd

In the end, there was some disappointment from the Sleepy Eye United boys’ golf team after it dropped one spot and finished third overall at the Class A boys’ golf meet on Wednesday.

Entering Wednesday’s play, SEU was in second place, 14 strokes behind Mahnomen/Waubon and one stroke ahead of Mounds Park Academy. But SEU dropped a spot on Wednesday, finishing third overall with a two-day team score of 673.

Mahnomen/Waubon won the event with a 653 and Lac qui Parle Valley was second with a 671.

“Today they definitely struggled a little bit more than normal,” coach Crystal Ibberson said. “It was kind of shocking, they were hitting in hazards and for some reason today they struggled with putting. Our No. 5 and 6 golfer came in under our No. 3 and 4 golfer, but I’m still super proud of them for finishing third, it’s still a huge accomplishment and they only missed second place by two strokes.”

Ben Laffen finished fourth overall with a two-day score of 155. His teammate, senior Caleb Christensen, was one stroke behind to finish fifth at 156. It’s no surprise that the two finished near each other in the overall scoring.

“Between the two of them, they went back and forth to win medalist and Ben was the conference champion,” Ibberson said. “Caleb came out on top in sections, they really battled and they’re both very competitive.”

Laffen said he’s going to miss the competition between him and Christensen.

“I’m very happy for Caleb,” Laffen said. “We will have some big shoes to fill because he was a huge portion of our team this year. He always found a way, even if he was struggling, to give us a usable score.”

Thor Weiss and Logan Netzke finished with a 187 to finish tied for 68th. Parker Landkammer turned in a 189 and Josh Nelson finished with a 194.

Christensen will take his career to the college level next year. It was a good way for him to end his high school career.

“Today I played pretty well,” he said. “I had a few bad holes, but it was good overall.”

He said his younger teammates may have battled some nerves at state.

“As a team, I think our inexperience, especially with our younger guys, played a factor today,” he said. “For me, I had no nerves, I just tried to do my thing for the team. I had a little bit of a rough stretch on [holes] 7, 8 and 9, but it was pretty solid all away around.”

Other area golfers include Springfield’s Mason Kretsch, who had a 165 to finish 18th. Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Luke Gartner shot a 174 to finish tied for 40th and teammate Sam Pfingsten shot a 175 to finish 43rd. Wabasso’s Garrett Sagedahl finished with a 201 to end his prep career.

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