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West Fargo girls golf hoping to keep adding numbers to the program

West Fargo's Ashley Johnson signals her teammates during practice at Maple River Golf Course in Mapleton.David Samson / The Forum1 / 3
West Fargo head golf coach Paula Pierson gives pointers to Abby Carlson during practice at Maple River Golf Course in Mapleton.David Samson / The Forum2 / 3
West Fargo's Anna Wohl putts during practice at Maple River Golf Course in Mapleton.David Samson / The Forum3 / 3

West Fargo girls golf coach Paula Pierson needed a credit to graduate from Mayville State. She decided to take a golf class. She was hooked.

"For me, personally, it's such a challenge," Pierson said. "You're only playing against yourself. You're trying to beat your last best score. I like the competitiveness and the challenge to beat my last score."

Pierson found her reason to learn golf while in search of a college diploma. In her second season back as the coach of the Packers and beginning her 34th year in education, she's hoping to give other girls a reason to play high school golf.

"One of the things that we had to encourage the girls was to get out and play as much as they can in the summer, but more importantly we need to build numbers," Pierson said. "We're a young program, and we just didn't have the numbers last year. This year we have a couple more girls coming out. They're young, but hopefully we keep them in the program and build."

West Fargo had seven on the golf team last season. The Packers currently have 10 for the upcoming season with no seniors on the squad.

"When you're a young program you got to build numbers," Pierson said. "You have to find a way to encourage the younger girls to get out and play the game. It's encouraging to see the numbers go up."

Pierson works at Cheney Middle School and she went to meetings in the spring for sports to ask girls if they were interesting in golf.

"You have to encourage them to try," Pierson said. "That's all we can do as coaches is ask them to give it a try."

The Packers lose their only state qualifier from last season in Jesse Price to graduation. A lot will rest on the shoulders of juniors Anna Wohl and Ashley Johnson, the only two returning varsity golfers from last season.

"Those two will need to step into the leadership role," Pierson said. "We need at least two of our younger girls to step in as well."

Pierson's first job out of Mayville State was in Climax, Minn. She was in her early 20s, and admitted there wasn't much to do. Golf was her answer.

"Not a lot to do in Climax, so I went out and played 27 holes of golf each day," Pierson said.

Pierson found her reason to golf. She's hoping more girls at West Fargo do as well.

"If we can keep those younger middle school girls interested in the game then they can encourage their friends to come out and give it a try," Pierson said. "There's a group that can build our program. We have to keep on them and hope they have a great experience and keep coming back and bring one or two extra players with them."

Coach: Paula Pierson (second season)

Last season: Jesse Price qualified for state

Who's gone: Jesse Price and Harli Dragt.

Key returners: Anna Wohl, Jr.; Ashley Johnson, Jr.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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