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Lumberjacks hold their own on biggest stage

Cloquet senior Karson Patten finished a high school golf career that included five trips to state on a high note: he tied for second place in the Class AA tournament, his highest individual finish yet.

Were it not for a disappearing ball on the 10th hole, head coach Aaron Young said he was confident Patten would have ended the tournament tied for first.

"No one could find it, so that put him two strokes back," Young said. "But it was really nice to see Karson finish so strong."

On Day 2, Patten had 16 pars, one double bogey (on No. 10) and birdied on the 18th hole to move into second place from a tie for 12th place on Day 1 (but only four strokes back from first in the very "bunched up" field). He shot a 74 on the first day and a 73 on the second for a combined score of 147, ultimately landing him in a three-way tie for second place with Max Wilson of Roseau and Peyton Savageau of Totino-Grace. Class AA champion Carter White, a sophomore, shot a 144 over the two days.

As a team, the Cloquet boys were just behind Patten, taking third place at the Class AA meet - held at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minnesota. It was the team's fifth trip in six years, with one year of competition lost to the pandemic.

"I believed we were pretty locked into third and we held through two days of play," Coach Young said.

Indeed. The first- and second-place teams traded places on Day 2, as did the fourth- and fifth-place teams, but Cloquet held steady, improving by two strokes from Day 1 to

Day 2.

"We struggled to get birdies to fall, but the ball striking was good," Young said, adding that hazy weather kept the temperature down, which was good.

The Cloquet boys have a strong team, and it's certainly not always the same four who score for the team. At the state meet, the top four finishers on Day 1 were Patten (74), Karson Young (77), Anders Gunelson (79) and Blair Chartier (80). On Day 2, it was Patten (73), Cooper Ellena (75), Gunelson (78) and Collin Young (82).

As a team, Cloquet finished with an overall score of 618. First-place team Totino-Grace scored 598, while second place Holy Family Catholic scored 602. Roseau took fourth place with 624.

Coach Young praised the team as "a great group of kids" who are fun to be around, while Patten said they all work hard. "They take pride in their game and never give up," Patten said.

The only senior on the varsity team and the only one to clock five trips to state, Patten said the Ridges course "is like a home course for me."

Still he admitted to a few nerves on the first hole Wednesday. Patten said the spotty cell phone service was a blessing because it meant he couldn't check the standings.

"I didn't understand how close to first or second I was," he said.

Girls battle

The two Cloquet girls in the Class AA tournament had a tough go. After the first day on Tuesday, JuliAnn Steinert shot 102 and found herself 28 strokes behind the leader. Sister Abigail Steinert was 36 strokes back with a 110. It was a tough hill to climb the next day.

Abby did much better Wednesday, shooting 98 for a two-day total of 208. JuliAnn shot 103 Wednesday to finish at 205.

The tournament champion, Grace Petzold of Providence Academy, shot a 75 and a 70 for the win.