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Weiszhaar leads Packer golfers

This is it for senior-to-be Krista Weiszhaar. West Fargo High's most talented female golfer ever has one more chance to show the rest of the state how good she is.

Not that she hasn't been doing that already. It's more like she's out to prove to herself that she's that good.

After a very successful sophomore season in which she took second at the state tournament, Weiszhaar is the first to say that her junior year wasn't all that spectacular - at least by her standards. She started out on a roll with three top three finishes where she even picked up her first career tournament win, but then things took a bit of a downward turn.

Weiszhaar was eighth at EDC and 12th at state. She dedicated this summer to working on her short game - her putting and chipping.

"I've been working really hard on it, and I've gotten a lot better," said Weiszhaar, who turned to NDSU golf coach Lisa Schwinden for help. Schwinden is also the club pro at Osgood.

"Krista has really worked hard this off-season on the weaker parts of her game," said Packer coach Dan Wolf. "There's never been an issue with her talent, but finding that consistency, that kind of drive and that hunger to do it - and I've seen more of that from her this year than I ever have. She seems focused on her goals this year."

That could spell trouble for the rest of the EDC - where most teams suffered severe graduation losses. The Packers only lost one golfer to graduation - Jena McIntyre, the Packers' fifth-best last season, by average.

Weiszhaar's 81.5 average last year was good for a tie for sixth place in the EDC. It's a big drop-off to West Fargo's No. 2 returning golfer - junior Samantha Pyle (105.8). She's followed by senior Ashli Powell (110.1), junior Mara Johnson (110.5) and senior Kate Eidenschink (116.2). West Fargo's sixth and final regular varsity golfer has yet to be determined.

"This year there's going to be that one spot that we're looking to see if there's someone who's ready to step up and be that varsity regular," said Wolf.

Fargo Shanley dominated the EDC last year but graduated four regulars. Wolf said Grand Forks Red River will be talented again this year. Fargo South and Fargo North both graduated a lot of experience, leaving the Packers - consistently near fifth place last season - in a position to move up in the conference. West Fargo took sixth at the EDC meet last season.

"This is as tough a year to predict as any," said Wolf. "If our team plays to the potential it has, we might be able to sneak into that third position at region. A lot of ifs and buts will have to be taken care of before that happens."

It all starts with Weiszhaar - a four-time all-conference golfer and four-time team MVP. The Packers open their season at the East-West Classic this Monday and Tuesday in Jamestown. They finished ninth out of 16 teams at the event last season.

"I think a lot of the girls are going to see their scores drop from all the practice we've been doing," said Weiszhaar. "A lot of us have been working hard."

More from China

Former Pioneer sports writer and 1993 West Fargo High graduate Ryan O'Halloran returns this week for another question and answer session from Beijing, China. O'Halloran is covering the Olympics for the Washington Times and is the publication's regular NFL beat writer, covering the Washington Red Skins.

Question: Give us your impressions of the opening ceremony.

Answer: The Opening Ceremony was one of the coolest things I've been to, but especially the first hour. The Chinese really delivered and they should have - the thing cost $50 million to produce. I left after the U.S. marched out of the tunnel to a mixed reaction (although the crowd went wild for Kobe Bryant) and was in the hotel lobby when Yao brought out the Chinese team.

Q: What was the first Olympic sporting event you covered? Tell us about it.

A: In the first week, because of local interest, I'm going to be at gymnastics and swimming a lot. The first event was men's gymnastics qualifying on Saturday afternoon. The IOC wasn't joking when they said every ticket to every event had been sold. For a noon start time, the place was pretty much packed. Since then, I've been to several swimming sessions and then women's gymnastics qualifying on Sunday. Right now - 10:10 a.m. Monday Beijing time - I'm back at swimming.