The state golf championships took place at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was two very different days of weather, which caused the younger East Ridge and Woodbury golfers to adapt quickly.
Woodbury sent two boys and one girl, while East Ridge had one boy and one girl make appearances at the state championships. The Royals had one golfer reach the top 10, while the rest finished in the middle of the pack but had many learning experiences throughout the two days.
The weather was a big factor for many of the golfers throughout the two days. The first day consisted of cold and rain causing the ball to stop once it reached the ground. The second day was sunny and windy, which made golf balls travel farther distances but also caused them to travel into trees and such.
Aayushi Sarkar has been to many state tournaments throughout her golfing career and this year she finished sixth overall for individuals. On Day 1, she ended the day 1-over par with a 73 as she shot 34 on the front nine and 39 on the back nine.
She came into Day 2 with the mindset of playing her game, but it took the first four holes to get into control. Sarkar shot a par on the first hole, but finished with a bogey on the next three holes to start 3-over par right away.
She ended the day with a 40 on the front nine and 36 on the back nine for a 76 total, which put her at 4-over par on the day. She completed the two days with a 5-over par, which put her in sixth place.
"It was a great chance to play for myself, my team and my school," Sarkar said. "State is always a fun time to play with the best golfers in the state and I can't believe that my senior year is coming up next spring.
"I'm just hoping to bring leadership to the team next year as a senior and hopefully we can get back to state as a team again."
The other four golfers from East Ridge and Woodbury were going to state for the first time in the golfing career. Parker Sands and Carter Spalding represented Woodbury on the boys side at state and both seventh-graders were able to play two days with the best golfers in the state.
Sands finished 19th overall with an overall score of 8-over par, while Spalding finished his two days with a score of 18-over par and ended 63rd overall for individuals.
Sands had a strong first day with a 35 on the front nine and 37 on the back nine to finish at even par, 72, heading into the final day. He had a tough front nine on the second day as he shot five bogeys and one double bogey, which put him at 43 going into his final nine holes.
He started off strong with a birdie on the first and fifth holes, but shot bogey and a double bogey on the next two holes to shoot 37 on the back nine. Sands finished with an 80 on the second day, which brought his overall score to 8-over par.
Spalding finished the first day with a 42 on the front nine and 40 on the back nine to reach 82 overall, which was 10-over par. He came into the second day and had a strong front nine holes as he went up 3-over par in the first three holes.
Spalding came back and hit two birdies in the middle and ended the front nine with a score of 39. His final nine holes ended in a 41, which totaled 80 and he ended his two days 18-over par.
"These two boys have been a great addition to this team this year," said Woodbury head coach Shawn Mahady. "They will learn a lot through state and hopefully bring that with them next spring to the team."
East Ridge also brought eighth-grader Justin Luan and sophomore Kyra Venne to state to represent the Raptors.
Luan was excited to come to state and compete for an individual state title. He started his two days with a strong outing as he shot 75 overall and was sitting at 3-over par heading into the second day.
He shot a 38 on the front nine and managed to hit par the majority of the second nine holes until he reached the final two holes of the day. Luan shot two bogeys to end his round and add two more strokes to his final total.
On the second day, Luan shot 39 on the front nine holes and 41 on the back nine to score a total of 80. That score bumped up his overall total to 11-over par and he finished in 37th place overall.
"It was a fun, learning experience to play at state this year," Luan said. "I appreciate my coaches, teammates and family that came out to support me during the two days. We have a really good team for next spring and I'm hoping to help in getting the team to state next year."
While East Ridge boys head coach Bret Brokins was standing next to Luan for all 36 holes, Venne was walking with East Ridge girls head coach Kathy Madden for her two days. Venne said she liked having Madden next to her and her family and friends not to far away because they gave her confidence and smiles the entire time.
Venne finished 37th overall as well for the girls individuals with a final score of 24-over par. On her first day, she had an up and down day with bogeys, pars and birdies throughout all 18 holes. She finished with a 39 on the front nine and 42 on the back nine to make a total of 81 and 9-over par on the first day.
She continued on the second day with a strong front nine as she hit a 40, but the back nine was tough for Venne. She ended with a 47, which brought her total score to 87 and completed her 24-over par over the two days.
"It was special to represent East Ridge at state and be a Raptor for these two days," Venne said. "It was nice to learn from some of these golfers and use it to get ready for next spring. I'm hoping to bring what I've learned her to the golf team next year."
All five of these golfers are not seniors and are rather young, so the hope for these coaches is to see them back at state for another year next spring. Along with these individuals, they hope to see more golfers as well as teams reach state and represent the Woodbury area.