Thus far there has been a clear divide between the top two teams in the Eastern Dakota Conference, Fargo Davies and Fargo Shanley, and the next team, Grand Forks Red River. The Roughriders have consistently competed but are pushed to a third-place level, just out of reach of the two Fargo programs.
For head coach Eric Sanders’ group, it has not been any particular aspect of the game holding them back, but strong competition ahead of them.
“They're both really solid groups. For us it’s going to have to take a low score from one of us and our three and four scores to also be really low. It’s not impossible, but just not as easy to be as consistent as them,” Sanders said.
Monday’s Grand Forks Central Invitational saw Red River finish in fourth, thanks in large part to a 71 (-1) from Wahpeton’s Anaka Lysne. Davies and Shanley cemented themselves in the one-two spots early on in the day and kept their foot on the gas, finishing with scores of 323 and 336, respectively.
Despite the familiarity with the course, the Roughriders sat in the middle of the pack shortly after the first tee and couldn’t catch up. They did make an effort with limited bogeys past the turn.
“Usually we feel a little more comfortable in town, but I didn’t really see that as much as we usually do,” Sanders said. “We got a couple of tough holes early in the day that were pounding into the wind. So I think we didn’t get that positive momentum.”
Leading the way for Red River were Jaya Grube and Jadyn Arel, once again. The sophomore and senior have been at the top of the team leaderboard all year long and contribute a large portion of the success the team has had.
“Together they have been a really good leadership combination. They go out of their way to make sure that everyone is a part of our family. Jaya’s leadership, golf-wise, has pushed a lot of other people to get better, and Jadyn would be our vocal leader and she does that really well,” he said.
At Grand Forks Country Club, Grube would finish third on the individual leaderboard with a 79 and Arel finished ninth with an 84. The rest of the Roughriders, all underclass, averaged 102 on the day but was highlighted by freshman Sophie Brakke’s 91 that included a birdie on hole 17.
Although golf can be played and practiced as an individual game and the likes of a Grube or Arel can give an extra boost to a team score, Sanders has stressed the need to play for each other when taking on the likes of Davies and Shanley. Each program holds three golfers in the top 10 in scoring for the EDC.
Shanley’s Lindsey Astrup and Davies’ Rose Solberg are in a close battle for the top spot, averaging just under 80. Lexi Bartley and Ava Olson of Davies sit third and eighth and Halle Balluff and Sophie Keelin of Shanley sit sixth and 10th.
“When you’re out there playing for yourself, when you have a bad hole you can be done. It’s like what’s the point? You’re held accountable when you're playing for someone else. So, we always focus on the team first and the individual stuff happens because we know that we’re there together,” Sanders said.
EDC girls golf will make the quick trip to Rose Creek Golf Course for the Fargo South Invitational on Wednesday before taking a week-long break and then heading to Edgewood Golf Course for the Fargo North Invitational on Sept. 1.
Fargo Davies, 323
Fargo Shanley, 336
Grand Forks Red River, 354
Fargo North, 369
Fargo South, 383
West Fargo, 386
West Fargo Sheyenne, 395
Grand Forks Central, 399
Valley City, 462
Individual Top 10
Anaka Lysen, Wahpeton, 71
Ava Olson, Davies, 77
Jaya Grube, GFRR, 79
Lexi Bartley, Davies, 80
Sophie Keelin, Shanley, 80
Rose Solberg, Davies, 81
Lili Lindemoen, Shanley, 83
Sydney Hanson, GFC, 83
Jadyn Arel, GFRR, 84
Abby Voeller, Davies, 85