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Girls golf: Eldred takes 12th, Osakis eighth at Class AA state meet

Osakis senior Alayna Eldred chips from just off the green during the Class AA state tournament on Wednesday. Eldred finished 12th individually as she shot a two-day score of 161. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 6
Osakis' Lexi Dirkes hits from the fairway at the Ridges at Sank Creek Golf Course in Jordan during the final round of the state tournament on Wednesday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 6
Osakis' Alexis Randall watches her putt on her final hole of the Class AA state tournament on Wednesday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 6
Osakis' Katie Helm putts during her final hole of the Class AA state tournament on Wednesday at the Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)4 / 6
Osakis' Marissa Reilly lines up her putt during Wednesday's final round of the Class AA state tournament. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)5 / 6
Osakis' Kadyn Triebenbach chips from just off the green on the ninth hole at the Ridges at Sand Creek during Wednesday's Class AA state tournament. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)6 / 6

Osakis’ Alayna Eldred pictured a different outcome when she thought about how her last high school round at the state tournament would go.

Eldred, who has made six straight state fields and finished third the last two years, envisioned winning the Class AA state title in her final year. But after a slow first day and a round by Red Wing junior Sophia Yoemans where she shot a Minnesota High School League and course-record 63, that was all but out of the picture. Eldred shot an 81 on Tuesday and an 80 on Wednesday to finish 12th with a 161.

“I’m a little disappointed in myself more than anything,” Eldred said. “I work really hard to be in this position and then not putting myself in a position to win, let alone even medal - it’s devastating for me. Then for it to be my last tournament with my teammates, that’s hard.”

Osakis shot a 774 as a team to finish eighth over the two days. Sophomore Lexi Dirkes followed Eldred with a 178, a shot lower than at sections.

“I feel like I could have done better, but it’s two rounds that were decent,” Dirkes said. “I’m going to come back next year stronger.”

Freshman Kadyn Triebenbach shot a two-day score of 195 and Katie Helm (242), Marissa Reilly (243) and Alexis Randall (260) rounded out the lineup.

As a team, Osakis is filled with underclassmen who will be back next year. Dirkes felt just getting here was fun for this group and will benefit them in the future.

“Just enjoying the experience and keeping your head in the game is one big thing,” Dirkes said. “Not letting nerves get to you. I know it’s very nerve wracking the first time for a couple girls on our team, but they seemed to handle it pretty well and next year when they hopefully come back, it will be better for them.”

Detroit Lakes won the team title for the third straight year, while Yoemans won the individual championship with a 15-under 129. That was eight shots lower than teammate Leah Herzog at 137. Minnewaska junior Madi McGinty shot a 70 on Wednesday to finish at 150, good for fourth.

Eldred did not play in Yoemans’ group in the first round and did everything she could to avoid seeing how others in the field were doing while on the course. That only makes things more difficult when it comes to focusing on her own game.

Eldred knew she had to shoot under par both days to win, but Yoemans’ score on day one almost put everyone else out of reach heading into round two.

“I was going into this thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to have to shoot 68, 69 to have a chance,’” Eldred said. “Here she fires 63 and Leah fires 66, so I wouldn’t have even had a chance if I did that. It’s pretty crazy.”

Eldred went into the final round wanting to have fun, feeling like she had nothing to lose. She said it was a culmination of many parts of her game that just did not come together this week.

“It was weird because going in, I was hitting the ball so well,” she said. “I came here for a practice round last Thursday, and I hit the ball really well. I didn’t putt well, but I still shot even par just messing around with my teammates. Then I get here and get on the course and I just don’t know where the ball is going to go. I’m getting sick of saying this for the sixth year, but it’s just not my week.”

Eldred will play in plenty of competitive tournaments this summer. Then in the fall, it’s onto the University of Minnesota for her first season with the Gophers.

“This will take me a few days to get over,” Eldred said. “But it’s just one tournament.”

She leaves Osakis after posting some impressive finishes and making plenty of memories along the way. The three individual state tournaments she played in were fun, but it’s the ones she went to with her teammates that stand out.

“I think leading my team to state three different times was pretty special, considering those three times we didn’t even think we’d make it to the second day of sections,” Eldred said. “People kind of counted us out, so for my team to be able to pull together those three times is pretty special.”

TEAM SCORES - Detroit Lakes - 638; Marshall - 664; Red Wing - 665; Visitation - 681; International Falls - 687; Breck - 698; Jordan - 720; Osakis - 774

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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