Panther girl golfers state bound
Before the Rugby Panthers stepped onto their home course for Region 4 girls’ qualifiers in Rugby Sept. 15, Coach Angie Zietz said she was “pretty confident we’ll have a team go to state.”
By the tournament’s end, Zietz’s prediction had come true.
The team of Libby Dulmage, Alyssa Harmel, Katelyn Ducscher, Reese LaRocque, Ashlyn Dibble and Marly Santjer will head to Crossroads Golf Course in Carrington Sept. 27 for the North Dakota High School Activities Association Class B State Tournament. The team led the three qualifiers with 442 points. Velva’s Aggies took second place in the tournament with a team total of 461 points and Northern Lights High took third place with 482 points.
Two Panthers will also advance to state from Region 4 on individual scores earned. Dulmage’s 88 score earned her the top spot of ten state individuals, while Harmel’s 116 score put her tenth among individual qualifiers.
As Dulmage wrapped up her last two holes of the competition with one of the first foursomes to start, Zietz said she was “impressed” with how the team was doing.
Zietz, who works for Rugby Public Schools as a paraprofessional, said she’s always loved to golf. She’s in her first year coaching girls’ golf for the Panthers.
“I’ve always played golf. I played on the golf team when I was in high school,” said Zietz, who attended high school in Manitoba, Canada. “I always golfed and when I moved down here and married my husband, he’s an avid golfer, so it just fit,” she said.
Zietz’s youngest son, Bryce, shares his parents’ love for the game. The eighth-grader is one of the youngest varsity golfers for the Rugby Panthers. Earlier in the summer, Zietz landed a hole in one on the Rugby Golf Course.
Zietz described golf as “totally a mental sport. You have to get out of your own head at times, and that’s hard.”
“I had one girl come in today and tell me, ‘Oh, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know if I can do this,'” Zietz said. “I said, ‘Just get out of your head. Golf and have fun.’ I showed her where Rugby was sitting as a group and I said, ‘This is also a team sport right now. Try to qualify for teams. Look at your team. You’re all doing well. You’re all going to state as a team. You’re already there. Let the rest go. Don’t worry about the rest.'”
Zietz stood near hole six, watching as another team member, Duchscher, walked onto the putting green with her foursome.
Foursomes in the competition consisted of a mix of golfers from the 11 participating schools. Each group had a marshal to monitor and keep score.
“I told them in practice yesterday, with 10 to 15-foot putts, yes, it would be great if you could make them every time, but if you can’t make it, be within a foot for that comfortable second shot. So, you’re not five feet out and saying, ‘Oh, this is not a good shot,'” Zietz explained.
Duchscher scored a three on hole six. “Thankfully, I needed that,” she said to Zietz, smiling.
As team members made their way back to the clubhouse one at a time, Zietz and Rugby High Athletic Director monitored the scoreboard with interest.
Dulmage, a co-op student from Leeds, sat down with her family after she finished. “Today was a little bit rough. I had some not quite-so-pretty holes. But, overall, I had a pretty good game. I ended with a score of 88. I’m overjoyed. We’re definitely going to state,” Dulmage said, smiling.
Ducscher, a senior at Rugby High, said she’s been golfing at the JV or varsity level “since I was in seventh grade.”
“I ended with a 118,” Ducscher said of her game. “I’m really, really excited to go to state. I’m a senior this year and I haven’t gone, ever. So, I’m really excited to go.”
Ducscher said she was excited to play on Crossroads Golf Course. “They have a really nice course down there, too, so it will be really nice to go to visit another part of the state and see what they have.”
“I’ve been golfing since junior high and up and I lost a year because of COVID,” Duscher added. “There was no golf season. Last year was kind of a rebuild year, getting everything ready and this year, we kind of took off running.”
Individual qualifiers for the region are Dulmage with 88 points; Abbey Peterson, Velva, with 100 points; Marti Moberg, Northern Lights, with 101 points; Tyra St. Claire, Bottineau, with 102 points; Carmen Elick, Northern Lights, with 104 points; Coryssa Behels, Garrison, with 108 points; Ellie Braaten, Westhope-Newburg, with 110 points; Laken Lee, Westhop-Newburg, with 112 points; Medow Roberts, Nedrose, with 113 points and Harmel, Rugby, with 116 points.
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