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Girls golf: Cards hope to climb up the CLC ladder

Apr. 5—WILLMAR — With a strong returning and supporting cast, the Willmar girls golf team is hoping to build on its past.

The Cardinals, who finished fifth in the Central Lakes Conference, will continue to take on strong competition in 2024.

There is Alexandria, which finished atop of the conference standings with 638 points, followed by Brainerd's 658 and Sartell's 702. Willmar finished at 754.

The Cardinals are scheduled to open up their 2024 season by hosting an invitational beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Willmar. There will be no shortage of area teams that will be featured in the competition.

"We're in one of the toughest conferences in the state," Cardinals head coach Bryan Mara said. "In the conference, we're looking to move up the standings and be more competitive there as well."

Most importantly, Willmar retains Kennedy Mara. The sophomore was an All-CLC pick last season.

"Kennedy's been really steady and consistent," Bryan Mara said. "She is looking to level up her game and give herself a chance to do well at sections this year."

Another key piece back for the Cardinals is junior Avery Olson.

"She's been really consistent for us as well," Bryan Mara said.

Fernanda Ossa Letelier and Maycee Gustafson also return for Willmar. Both are coming off a season where they were named All-CLC Honorable Mentions.

Chloe Lownsbury and Shelby Reed are a pair of seniors looking to make contributions and etch themselves into the Cardinals' lineup. Reed is back after missing previous seasons due to injuries.

Willmar sophomore Lily Jorgenson will also be in the mix for a spot in the lineup.

"We have some great leadership and everybody's really experienced," Bryan Mara said. "I'm looking forward to a fun season.

"Everybody's getting along and they're supporting each other."

With 20 golfers on the roster including 12 underclassmen, there will be competition for lineup spots, according to Bryan Mara.

"We finally have a good, strong middle school program going with some good coaches and that's helping a lot," Bryan Mara said.

The Cardinals have their minds focused on making it to Day 2 at the Section 8AAA meet, which will be hosted at a new site this year.

"That's a major goal for us as a team," Bryan Mara said.

The meet will be held at GreyStone Golf Club in Sauk Centre. It was previously held at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids.