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Ty's Take: Girls golf hopes to 'peak at the right time'

West Fargo's Walker Degerness returns the ball as he competes for third place Saturday during the West Fargo Invitational at Moorhead High School. Michael Vosburg/The Forum

For sports seasons that run as short as girls golf, it's a wonder teams get a chance to find a rhythm whatsoever: by the time they have things figured out, the season is almost over.

"At the beginning, it seems like it's a long ways away," Packers girls golf coach Dan Wolf said. "But by the time school starts, it's like 'holy cow, where has the time gone?' "

The way things are going for the Packers girls golf team, this could be one of those years. After starting with two straight fifth-place finishes, West Fargo slipped to sixth the following two meets and then eighth place at Rose Creek on Sept. 1.

"We started strong....but hit a little swoon there," Wolf said of the Packers' slump.

With that trend, the Packers were getting nowhere fast, but last Tuesday at King's Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks, they picked up the pace to place sixth with a team score of 399.

"I'm pleased that we shot more of where we should despite the wind and cold. That very well could be what conditions are like for the rest of the way," Wolf said.

Though the Packers were able to improve on their previous efforts, there still is work to be done.

"We still haven't had that game where all four girls have finished strong," Wolf said.

Those four girls are West Fargo regulars Ashley Bixby, Lexi Lennon, Lexie Wasem and Lauren Johnson. Since prep golf requires a six-player team, the last two Packers have been in flux for most of the season. Wolf hopes to have things nailed down coming into the final stretch.

"We have some girls who are trying to qualify for the next tournament," he said. The Packers hosted the West Fargo Invitational on Tuesday, but results were not in when this edition of the Pioneer went to press. "At this point, we're just trying to narrow it down."

Last Tuesday, freshman Bixby paced West Fargo with 85 strokes, which tied her for second place alongside Grand Forks Red River's JoDee Wheeler. Bixby currently ranks seventh in the EDC with an average of 88.7 strokes.

Next on West Fargo's depth chart is Lennon, who sits at No. 19 EDC with a 98.8 average. At King's Walk, she tied for 13th with a 98.

With the season winding down in a hurry - the state tournament is Oct. 4-5 in Jamestown - the Packers have little time to knuckle down. But Wolf is playing it cool.

"The season is a marathon, not a sprint. We want to play well all the time...but we're working on peaking at the right time," he said.

Boys tennis finishes sixth at own invitational

The Packers boys tennis team hosted the West Fargo Invitational last Saturday, and wound up finishing sixth. Grand Forks Red River took first place.

Though the Packers didn't take any flight championships, they did win several top fives.

In the third flight, Brady Ballweber defeated Bismarck Century's Joe James 6-3, 7-6 (6) for third place. Walker Degerness also got a third-place finish after defeating Minot's Peter Wilson 6-4, 7-5 in the fourth flight bracket.

West Fargo received fifth-place finishes from Jordan Degerness and Keyan Farahman. Degerness beat Bismarck Century's Grant Ehli 8-3 in the fifth flight, while Farahman took honors with an 8-2 win over Fargo Shanley's Tanner Olson.

The Packers faced Fargo Davies on Tuesday, but results were not in by press time. They head to Fargo North on Thursday for a 4 p.m. meet; the last one of the regular season. East Region postseason competition kicks off Sept. 23-25 in Grand Forks, and the state tournament is the following week in Bismarck.