For several years, Mandan High School's girls golf program has hung in the upper tier of at the state level. The Braves have finished in the top five in the state tournament the last six years with a best of third last fall.
And once in a while the Braves rise up and beat everybody. That happened Monday as Mandan won the Dickinson Invitational at the Heart River course with a 339. That tied the Braves with Century for first place, and they won on the fifth-score tiebreaker.
Mandan had two third-place finishes and a fifth to show for its first three tournaments of the season. On Monday, some things fell into place.
"The conditions were kind of tough today. We were on the longest women's course in the state. Our girls have done a lot of work in the weight room ... so the wind didn't bother us as much today and the length (of the course) didn't bother us as much," Mandan head coach Dean Johs said. "We played some really tough golf.
"We took advantage of a bad situation. I feel bad that Century's No. 5 had to withdraw."
The withdrawal worked to Mandan's advantage on the fifth-score tiebreaker. Mandan's No. 5, Brooklyn Monteith, carded a 103 to edge Century's Regan Braun by four shots. Century's Kambree Hauglie, who had to withdraw, had shot in the 80s her last three rounds.
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"Things fell the right way for us and we took advantage of the opportunity," Johs observed.
Sophomore Anna Huettl led the Braves with a 75 to earn tournament medalist honors by four strokes. Senior Aysia Mettler carded an 85, followed by eighth grader Brittyn Mettler with an 88 and sophomore Ruby Heydt with a 91. Monteith, an eighth grader, and sophomore Rylee Meyers shot scores of 102 and 103, respectively.
Johs said he was delighted to see Huettl take individual honors for the first time as a varsity golfer.
"She had a bad first tournament, but other than that she's been a shot or two off the lead," Johs noted. "... She was determined to get it. She made a couple of errors in Jamestown and lost by one and a couple errors at Tom O'Leary (on Friday) and lost by three."
Mandan had not won a tournament for 11 months. The Braves claimed top honors at an invitational in Minot last September and went on to finish second in the West Region tournament and third at state.
Johs said Monday's win should encourage a young team that plays in a competitive environment.
"We've been working with our girls, telling them to go out and do their thing the best they possibly can," he said. "We had a tough East-West (in Jamestown). Century beat us by more than 40 shots. ... This helps. ... We still have a lot of work to do, but this validates the work they've put in."
West Region teams get a week-long break before playing again. The next tournament is scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 31 at Riverwood.
"The next one is the Century invite on their home course. It will be even tougher," Johs noted.