Emily Wetterstrom, girls’ golf co-head coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove, got more than expected from the program’s inaugural season last spring.
The Eagles placed second in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference match and sent two golfers to the Class 1A state tournament. Kiera Smith carded a 176, good for a share of 14th place, while Allison Deckert tied for 48th.
The best part? Wetterstrom returns Smith, Deckert and almost every other player. She added a few more, thanks to some hallway recruiting. The end result is an enthusiasm where uncertainty reigned just a year ago.
“The next four or five years we’re hoping to dominate the conference,” Wetterstrom said. “This is all very exciting.”
The team, which calls Hollydale Golf Club in Plymouth home, “surpassed everyone’s expectations,” Wetterstrom said. “The first few meets in we posted some pretty good scores and we looked around and said, ‘We’re doing quite well here.’ ”
Wetterstrom’s desire to create a golf program started with her daughter, Margaret. She was one of fourth seventh-graders on varsity last spring. Three of them return this season. To fill out the roster, Wetterstrom stood in the hallway at Heritage Christian Academy and asked passing female students, “Do you golf?” A few said they did and the Eagles enter this spring with nine golfers.
Some team members take their games seriously. Smith and Deckert, the team’s state tournament entrants last season, take lessons year-round. Other players are solid two-sport athletes. Margaret Wetterstrom plays volleyball while Madison Lee just missed the state meet cut in Alpine skiing.
For all their athletic ability and golf savvy, the Eagles’ debut season was one of discovery.
“We found out what it means to play when it’s 40 degrees and hailing and you need rain gear,” Emily Wetterstrom said. “So we’ve got that covered. And the girls wanted matching shirts because they really like matching outfits.”
Looking good isn’t the only key to playing well. Wetterstrom is putting the girls through conditioning drills this week. Whether lifting weights, running stairs or swinging weighted clubs, players aim to turn high expectations into low scores.
“Last year we wanted to get the basics down,” Wetterstrom said. “This year the girls were ready to meet this at a more competitive level.”
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574