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Stocker leads talented Duluth-area golf field

Many coaches believe something happens to young female golf stars about the time they are in position to lead a high school golf team. They get distracted. It is a cause of consternation among the girls' coaches, who groomed them, often for years...

Many coaches believe something happens to young female golf stars about the time they are in position to lead a high school golf team.
They get distracted.
It is a cause of consternation among the girls' coaches, who groomed them, often for years, only to see them drift away in their prime.
Anna Stocker is determined not to let that happen.
Her coach, Marshall School's Scott Heger, got proof on Tuesday at the Golf Skydome. While he was downstairs working with the boys, Stocker, unbeknownst to him, was upstairs working on her iron play. Alone.
Eventually, Stocker wandered down below to say hi to her coach. His surprise was quickly replaced with pride.
"She's one that's hard at it," he said. "You can tell she's trying to make her mark this year."
Stocker, a junior, set the stage last season by finishing 21st at the Minnesota State High School Golf Meet with a 86-85--171. Among 10th-graders, however, Stocker was seventh. It was just the taste of success she needed. Now a junior, Stocker wants more, and she wants to take her team with her.
"I've seem my teammates improve a lot, and I want to be a leader," said Stocker. "I'd like to have a team go to state, so I have to show them the way."
So far, she's been leading by example, pounding away in the Golf Skydome even when she's not expected to be there.
Fellow junior Emily Davis has taken notice, as has eighth-grader Katrina Wood, who Heger thinks could be a surprise in 2001.
"I watched her swing as a seventh-grader, and I don't know how she didn't fall down," Heger said. "But this year she just rips it. I'm anxious to see her outside."
On the boys side, the Marshall School is also well-stocked with the Moline brothers -- David and Daniel -- and their supporting cast of Andy Gulbrandson, John Treacy (brother of former Duluth East golfer Carolyn Treacy) and Conlin McConnell.
"We've got five golfers who can break 80 on any given day," Heger said.
Now, if they can only get outside.
Duluth East
The Greyhounds qualified both their boys and girls golf teams for state last season for the first time since the mid-1990s. The boys finished seventh and the girls third.
"I was really proud of the boys, because they weren't expected to do it," said East head coach Mike Stenerson. "And the girls were like my daughters. I had some of them for five years and watched them improve. I wouldn't have traded that group of girls for any other team."
Unfortunately, for Stenerson and the Greyhounds, the core of that girls team -- Carolyn Treacy, Holly Thompson and Jamie Seitz -- graduated, leaving a hole in the middle of what was the area's most powerful squad last season.
All is not lost, however, as veterans Anna Haag (17th at state in 2000) and Keely Raab (68th at state in 2000) have returned to lead the Greyhounds in 2001. They will be joined by budding standout Molly Aguirre, who Stenerson expects to be a significant contributor this season.
The Greyhound boys, unlike the girls, returned almost everyone from last year's state meet team, which has given Stenerson reason for optimism.
"I think we're going to be really competitive," said Stenerson. "We had 56 boys out for golf, and it's going to be a dogfight for those last six spots. It's just a matter of seeing who can play."
Early front-runners appear to be All-Conference junior Dane Odden, senior Peter Toftey, junior Tommy Kolar and sophomores Brian Stovern and Phil Van Kessel.
"We're not in the LSC, so we are going to a lot of invitationals against a lot of Twin Cities teams," said Stenerson. "We'll find out early how we match up."
Duluth Denfeld
The Hunters are embarking on a golf youth movement.
"We're lacking experience," said head coach Mark Krysiak. "We need to get them out there in competition with pressure."
On the girls side, Denfeld will be looking to move on following the departure of star Sarah LeClair. Hoping to fill her role will be sophomore Julie Anderson, whose father is a club pro in Cloquet.
"She was a starter in seventh grade, and her bag was bigger than her," Krysiak said. "If she can get her short game going, she has a legitimate chance to make it to state."
Anderson will be joined by ninth-grader Emily Hanson, the Hunters' only other returning starter.
The boys are also without a senior, following the graduation of Aaron Anderson, who gained notoriety for sinking a hole-in-one at the state meet last spring.
Vying to fill his shoes will be junior Matt Smith, sophomore Matt Busch and ninth-graders Josh Finner-Johnson, Ben Johnson and Brandon Johnson.
"The two Matts (Smith and Busch) could step up and consistently shoot in the 70s for us," said Krysiak. "And then we need one or two more to break 80."
Expect a season of lessons learned for the Hunters.
"I'll do a lot of strategy talk," said Krysiak. "After cuts, I'll make 'em play without anything longer than a six-iron. Let's worry about scoring, not hitting the ball 270 yards -- that's what we need to get across to the kids."
Proctor Rails / Hermantown Hawks
The combo team of Proctor and Hermantown return a solid core of girls including Julie Tuominen, Amanda Eckstrom, Erica Edblad, Breanna Hickey, Jayme Johnson and Lindsay Estep.
"Our girls finished fifth in the conference last year," said Hermantown's Cliff Ashby. "We're looking to improve that by a couple of places this year."
On the boys side, second team All-Conference selection Nick Morton is back, as are seniors Andy Krause, Brian Larson, Derek Hill, Troy Arfsten, Jeremy Hester, Dustin Burke and Jason Hicks.
"They all played in meets last year, and if they played any golf over the summer, you never know," said Proctor's Jim Masterson. "
Duluth Central
Joe Hietala's Trojans can be viewed in two ways: inexperienced or on the verge.
Everyone on both the girls and the boys teams returned from last season which has Hietala expecting a bright future.
"We're still real young, but we have a lot of potential," he said. "We need to get as much big meet experience as possible. I tell them it's a process that may take a few years, so don't get frustrated."
Leading Central's girls team will be sophomore Julia Hagensen.
"She's head-and-shoulders our number one," said Hietala. "And, she's consistently getting better."
Hagensen will be joined by returners Trina Kolojeski, Renee Goman and Betty Keeney.
"We were very young last year, and now we're one step beyond that," Hietala said.
The Central boys team will follow talented sophomore Elliot Young.
"If he had not realized that he could make it to state last year, he would have," said Hietala. "He got the jitters and just missed."
This season, however, Young is a year wiser and isn't likely to make the same mistake.
Joining Young will be lone senior Bill Lewis and the sophomore core of Blake Kolquist, Tom Lilliberg and Joe Buckley.
"The guys are all golf fanatics," said Hietala. "They play every chance they get."

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