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Girls Golf is Alive and Well at Rugby

By Staff | May 1, 2015

Darby Deckert

Elizabeth Blessum, Darby Deckert, and Helen Johnson all moved up to the varsity level of the RHS golf team when they were 8th graders because there were only three other high school girl golfers at the time and they were needed. Rugby needed to make a full team, and the three of them had played quite well at the junior high level. When the team went to regional that year, that was also the first year Coach Leah Johnson was the head coach for girls’ golf. When asked how she felt that first year Coach Johnson shared “I really had no idea what to expect. We ended up finishing third as a team and qualifying for the state tournament in Hankinson. It was the first time our girls team had qualified as a team in a few years, so we were all excited.” Coach Johnson continued “We finished dead last that year but we gained so much experience! We have since qualified for state each year – four years in a row as of last season.”?

Since then, according to Coach Johnson those three girls have served a role as team leaders. They compete against one another but also have the team’s best interest at heart. Their athletic skills and their educational prowess personify the definition of a “student-athlete”, with each of the young ladies playing at least two sports. Elizabeth participates in volleyball and golf, while Darby plays volleyball, basketball, and golf. And Helen is on the volleyball team, cheer team, and plays golf. Even with those busy schedules they all make time for their education needs, excelling in all areas in school. College is an important part of all three young ladies’ futures. Helen Johnson shared she is going to NDSU for architecture, Elizabeth Blessum told us she is going to NDSU for agricultural education and Darby Deckert signed with Dakota College at Bottineau to play basketball. Coach Johnson was asked how she would feel after this season ended and she shared, “To say that I will miss them as athletes is an understatement, but I will miss them more as people. I have watched these girls grow up into amazing young women.”

We also asked Elizabeth, Darby and Helen what they thought about their last golf season together and in unison they said, “So far this season we have had some cold meets but it has been pretty nice because we didn’t have to practice indoors at all this year. It has all been outdoors. Feels awesome to play together because we have improved so much together and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We really want to go out on a high note.”

Coach Johnson said she was proud of her whole team commenting that the other three seniors have been with her since 8th grade as well. Those seniors have found success on the links also with ReeAnn Christianson making her first state team as a 9th grader when the team placed first at the team regional. Hannah Voeller and Paige Johnson (from Leeds) made their first state team as 10th graders when Rugby was runners-up at the team regional.

This year, their senior year, Rugby is hosting the team regional. Coach Johnson shared her thought of home course advantage, “I am very excited for the girls to have a chance to show what they can do on their home course. I think the girls are looking forward to it too!” As we are all. Go, Panthers.

Helen Johnson

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