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Girls golf: Irish golfers qualify for state

The Rosemount girls golf team celebrates after winning the Section 3AAA tournament and qualifying for state for the first time in 26 years Monday at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.

The last time the Rosemount girls qualified a full team for the state golf tournament was in 1988 – two years before current coach Barry Wallin took over the program.

That drought ended Monday when the Irish used a strong back nine to overtake Eastview and Apple Valley and capture the Section 3AAA championship with a total score of 682 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Apple Valley finished three strokes back with a 685.

The Irish will be back at Bunker Hills for the Class 3A state tournament beginning Tuesday.

“They didn’t let that (history) get in their way. This group is really good at trying to take all the expectations that might be there and setting them aside so they can stay focused on one shot at a time,” Wallin said. “That really keyed our victory Monday. The kids really came through.”

Rosemount led Apple Valley by a stroke, 336-337, after the first day of play on Friday. The 336 was a top-10 all-time low score in program history.

Monica McDonald fired an 80 on Friday and followed that up with an 87 Monday to place her fourth out of 60 golfers.

Jessica Petersen finished second for the Irish with a 172 after carding a team-low 84 on Monday. Senior captains Molly Reber and Ashlee Humble were right behind with 36-hole totals of 173 and 176, respectively.

Eighth-grader Sydney Regalado contributed a round of 85 on Friday and finished with a 183. Freshman Gretchen McDonald added a 188.

“I could not be more proud of all of them,” Wallin said. “This is a wonderful group of girls who work hard, listen to coaching and get along well together.”

The state trip caps off a banner season where the Irish finished first at Valleywood and second in tournaments at Hazeltine, Edina, Rich Valley and Emerald Greens. They finished second in the South Suburban Conference while landing five players on the first team and a sixth on the honorable mention list.

“To sum it up, it feels great. It’s my 24th year coaching this team and it’s been a work in progress. We have had a pretty vibrant junior program at Emerald Greens the last six or seven years and my assistant coach Matt Harrison has been instrumental in building the program,” Wallin said. “The parents have been supporting of the kids playing golf in the summer.… The administration and teachers have worked with the program through all of the rescheduling because of the weather.… It’s really a culmination of so many things coming together and leading to a victory on Monday.”

State tournament play begins at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in Coon Rapids.

“That will be icing on the cake,” Wallin said. “There is some very outstanding competition in girls golf this year – unprecedented levels of excellence. We feel honored to represent our section and we’ll give it our best.”

Matt Steichen

Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.

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