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Prep Athletes of the Week: Anoka golfer wins at the head game, too

TYLER GANDRUD

Anoka • golf

Anoka senior Tyler Gandrud knows better than to keep track of how other golfers are doing during a round. He couldn't resist during his season opener. He was paired with defending Class 3A champion Jake Birdwell of Spring Lake Park.

Gandrud shot a 5-under-par 67 to win the Bunker Hills Invitational and beat his Northwest Suburban Conference counterpart Birdwell in the 30-team meet.

"I play in the same group as Jake quite a bit," Gandrud said. "It's fun to compete against him. He is such a good golfer."

It wasn't an easy round for Gandrud.

"I wasn't hitting the ball that good all day," Gandrud said. "I was scrambling a lot. I took advantage when I had chances to make birdies."

He credited his coach, Doug Orr.

"My coach helped me keep my head straight," Gandrud said. "My personality is defined by golf."

Orr knew that.

"He is such a perfectionist when it comes to his golf swing that it sometimes gets in the way of his game," Orr said. "If he hits a shot and it isn't perfect, he starts doubting himself and his ability. As a golf coach, a big part of our job on the course is to play psychologist and attempt to get the golfers in the right frame of mind. Tyler has all the ability in the world. The trick to his good round was his ability to let his talent take over and minimize the mental interference."

Gandrud hasn't been been playing the game that long. He picked up the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was a pretty big tournament, and it was exciting to start the year off that way," Gandrud said. "It's something to build off. Confidence is what it takes to excel in golf."

CAMILLE CASTRO

Cretin-Derham Hall • softball

A sophomore, Castro has been outstanding in the unbeaten Raiders' first five victories of the season. She went 11-for-17 (.647), with five doubles and a grand slam, driving in 11 runs and scoring nine times. "Camille has been seeing the ball really well at the plate," Cretin-Derham Hall coach Carolyn Osdoba said. "Her batting average is phenomenal."

ANTONIO PEDRI

St. Thomas Academy • lacrosse

The senior attacker proved he can pass as well as score. Pedri had six goals and six assists as the Cadets rolled to a 17-4 victory over Holy Angels in their season opener. "Antonio had a great game to start the season for us statistically, both finishing and finding the open guy," St. Thomas Academy coach Frank Clark said. "His tenacity and physicality, especially in the riding game, is what shined and set the tone for us."

EMMA KVANT

St. Michael-Albertville • track

Kvant has gotten out of the blocks quickly. The sophomore sprinter owns the state's fastest times in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, finishing the 200 in 25.43 seconds and the 400 in 55.38. She also runs a leg on the Knights' top-five 4x200 relay squad as well as the 4x400 group. "Emma is one of those special athletes who are both very gifted and works very hard in practice to continue to get better," Knights coach Gordy Schlangen said.

JOE BALDUS

Farmington • baseball

A junior righthanded pitcher, Baldus threw a no-hitter in his first varsity start, striking out 11 and walking two while throwing only 89 pitches in a 6-0 victory over Burnsville. "It was a special day for Joe," Farmington coach Jon Graff said. "He was in control from the first inning, striking out the side, and he only got stronger as the game progressed. Joe spotted his fastball and had great movement and command of his breaking ball. It was an effortless performance on his part."

LAYLA NICK

Orono • lacrosse

A freshman, she took matters into her own hands in the Spartans' season opener. She had nine goals and one assist in a wild 17-16 victory over Eden Prairie. "Layla's opening-game speed and shot placement was definitely a sight to see," Orono coach Jane Kolar said. "Layla brings that grit and tenacity to lacrosse every day, so for those of us who spend every day with her, that was the Layla we are accustomed to watching — an incredibly talented athlete and phenomenal teammate."

CADE SANVIK

Osseo • track

Sanvik showed at the Armstrong Invitational that he is one of the best runners in the state. He won the 800 with a time of 1:57.40 and the 1,600 in 4:19.89. He will also run the 3,200 this season and anchor the Orioles' 4x400 relay team. "Cade is one of the most versatile athletes on the track," Osseo coach John Rundquist said. "He has always been a gifted runner, but his maturity and confidence has only grown and made him an even stronger runner."

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