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Golfers rebuild with newcomers

West Fargo Junior Chelsey Buth tees off at Village Green Golf Course during practice Friday morning. Carrie Snyder/The Forum1 / 2
West Fargo Senior Samantha Pyle is among one of the girls golf varsity players returning this season. Carrie Snyder/The Forum2 / 2

There is no doubt it's a rebuilding year for the Packer girl golfers after the graduation of three top seniors, including the best golfer in school history.

Not all is lost though. West Fargo returns a trio of lettermen, two of which are highly experienced seniors. Coach Dan Wolf and his team knows, however, no one will be replacing recent graduate Krista Weiszhaar, one of the state's best golfers the last few seasons.

"We lost four seniors, three that had played basically all the varsity meets last year, and, of course, the biggest loss was Krista, who played in every meet since her seventh grade year. You can't replace someone like that," said Wolf.

The Packers do have seniors Mara Johnson and Sam Pyle and freshman Alexis Lennon, all of whom played varsity last season. Johnson and Pyle (25th at EDC last year) will become four-time varsity lettermen this year, while this will be the first full season for Lennon (tied for 33rd at EDC).

Top newcomers this year will likely include juniors Katlyn Jacobsen and Chelsey Buth, sophomore Lauren Johnson and freshman Claire Eidenschink.

"It's hard to say this early in the season, but those are the ones with the potential to make a big impact for us," said Wolf. "It's a long season. We'll have to wait it out to see if any of them can distinguish themselves and step up into the lead or not."

Eidenschink said she's happy to get a chance to just play golf this fall.

"I get to play with a lot of my friends to start with, and it's not bad competition between us," she said. "We're just out there to have fun. It's a real enjoyable sport and a fun way to spend our time. I think we're all going to try our hardest.

For the Packers to match last year's EDC meet finish of fourth place, the team will have to be on the top of its game. Without Weiszhaar around golfing consistently in the mid 70s, everyone will have to play up to their potential. Weiszhaar now golfs for Southwest Minnesota State University.

"You can't replace someone like that, and I would certainly never ask our returning players to try to shoot the type of scores that she did. I'd just ask that we do go out and put forth our best effort each round," said Wolf.

The Packers opened their season at the Jamestown Invite last Monday and Tuesday; results were unavailable before press time.

"We don't have anyone that's going to average 78.5 for us this year, but I think we do have four girls that can probably shoot in the 90s each meet, maybe one or two of them can sneak into the 80s," said Wolf. "Then we're not too far off from the team scores that we posted last year. Our goal is to peak at the right time, towards the end of the season."