Lovell High School junior golfer Adessa Lundberg battled with the best at the Class 3A State Golf Tournament in Afton last week and earned all-state honors for the third consecutive year. Her performance capped a season that saw her place in the top 10 in almost every meet this fall.
Lundberg finished up her junior year at the Class 3A State Tournament by shooting a 95 Friday and a 96 Saturday for a two-day score of 191 to place sixth.
“Adessa had a very solid year,” coach Craig Lundberg said. “She was the only golfer (on the Lovell team) to place in the top 10 and earn all-state honors. Not only that but she actually hit a hole in one on the first day of the tournament. That was a pretty cool moment to have happen at the state tournament. For her to place in the top 10 was a great accomplishment, especially because she really had to grind it out and work for it.
“For whatever reason her swing was all over the map this weekend, and her control was not where it normally was, so it made this weekend a little tough. On day two she shot one stroke higher than day one, but it was enough for sixth place. It seemed like the worse the weather, the better she played. Her day two started off as bad as a golfer could want, but she still battled all the way to the end. Her toughness was on display, and she really worked hard and did not get flustered when she definitely could have. I know she is already looking forward to spring season and (fall) golf next year. She wants to work hard and make a statement next year.”
The Bulldog boys at State tied for ninth as a team with Pinedale by shooting a 392 the first day and a 364 the second for a team total of 756, 13 strokes behind Lyman and 32 strokes ahead of Powell. Lander won the state title with a team score of 601.
“Overall, I was mostly pleased with how the team performed at the state tournament,” Lundberg said. “During our practice round we only were able to get through 13 holes so our kids did not get to play all 18 until the first day of the state tournament. We did walk the last few holes so we had a visual, but that is very different than playing all 18. Our day one scores were pretty consistent with our averages. I felt we shot a little high as a boys team on day one. Our team total was a 392, which meant we were going to have to play very well in order to improve our standing on day two.
“My goal was to try to finish in the top half of 3A. I challenged the kids to try and shoot 95 or lower on day two. I felt that they rose to the challenge and played much better, especially given the weather conditions on day two. It was freezing cold with rain and wind. We shot a 364 on day two, which was 28 strokes better than day one and fifth best out of all of the 3A teams. That was what I was shooting for and the kids came through.”
Leading the Bulldog boys was senior Brenen Hinckley, who shot an 89 Friday and an 84 Saturday for a 173, tying for 16th with Trevor Stowe of Buffalo.
“I was rooting for Brenen this weekend to have a sort of coming out party,” Lundberg said. “He played well day one, but he knew he needed to be in the low 80s or so in order to be in contention for all-state, which was his goal. I know he was disappointed overall, but he has been such a tremendous asset to our golf team since he has been here. Since I have taken over as golf coach he has been the most consistent and best golfer that we have had.
“His day two performance was much better, and I give him kudos for buckling down and preserving. As a coach, you love having kids like Brenen on your team. He loves the game of golf and is really good at it. I would like him to pursue it at the college level and see if he can play. He would learn so much. In my opinion, Brenen is an all-state caliber golfer. Unfortunately in 3A this year they had a ton of exceptional golfers and everyone needed to be on their A game to make the top 10.”
Next for Lovell was junior Zeke Newman, who shot a 98 Friday and a 91 Saturday for a 189, tying for 35th with Justin Kleemeyer of Douglas.
“Zeke is one of those kids that places a ton of pressure on himself to do better and better,” Lundberg said. “This is a good and a bad thing. I think we all had a case of the jitters on day one so our scores were up a bit, but the kids really calmed down on day two and were able to lower scores.
“Zeke has some pretty lofty goals and he is going to achieve them next year. He has the mentality to do it, and I know he will. If he gets out this summer and plays a lot of golf and works on a couple areas he will see huge improvement. I was proud of the way he bounced back. He was actually upset with his scores, so it shows how much of a competitor he is. I love his attitude and his outlook on the game. He is a great kid and has a great golf swing. He had a solid junior year, and he will be one of our leaders for our golf team moving forward for sure.”
Freshman Carter Lundberg shot a 100 the first day and a 90 the second day to score a 190 in Afton and place 37th.
“Carter had a great freshmen year,” Lundberg said. “I have been really pleased with how he had played in golf tournaments. State was no exception. Carter had a good showing on day two and ended up shooting a 90 for his lowest round of the year. He told me he was going to shoot in the 80s and he was pretty close. It was great to see him enjoy that final round of golf. He had a great time but really competed. I was pleased with his mental toughness and the way he has been able to push some pretty rough holes. If he can commit to playing a lot of golf he will be an up and coming golfer for us.”
Junior Lane Herman placed 46th at State by shooting a 106 Friday and a 99 Saturday for a 205.
“Lane has been our Mr. Consistency all year long,” Lundberg said. “He has been a little frustrated because he has not been as low as he would like in reference to his scores. Day one had him a little angry, and I was glad to see that he came in on day two and was able to shoot in the 90s. He has a great little golf swing on him, and I don’t really think he knows how good he could actually be if he puts his mind to it.
“One of the hard things about golf is that about the time you feel like you have your game figured out the season is over. You really need to play quite a bit in the summer so you are ready when the season hits. Lane worked some pretty late hours this summer and played a lot of baseball so I think he was just figuring out this golf thing here at the end. He could definitely shoot in the 80s as a senior. I am looking forward to having him play next fall.”
Rounding out the Bulldog boys at State was junior CJ Pickett as he shot a 105 the first day and a 101 the second for a 206.
“His attitude is awesome on the course,” the coach said. “He is one of those kids that builds up everyone all the time. I have had coaches come up and tell me how much they appreciate him and his positivity. Not only that, he is turning into a pretty good little golfer. For his standards he did not shoot where he wanted to. Talking to him he just made a few mistakes that made things pretty tough. He went through a little slump in the middle of the year, and he was able to bust out of it.
“I like that our kids are not satisfied with their performances. CJ knows he can do better and wants to do better. He was another kid that played a lot of baseball in the summer and did not have time for golf. He worked, as well, so around the time he starts to figure things out then the season is over. CJ really enjoys the game and there were some days it was hard to get him off the course. I love to see that, and I hope that carries over into the next golf season.”
As the fall season comes to an end, Lundberg said he was pleased with the team’s performance in the 3A level at State.
“As a team we had a few goals before the season started, but those changed when we got bumped up to 3A at the start of the year,” the coach said. “We went from wanting to take home hardware at the state tournament to just wanting to finish top five or six. Individually, we went from kids shooting for all-state to shooting personal bests.
“I was proud because if we look at our averages from last year to this year, almost every single golfer dropped five to 10 strokes off of that average. We improved a lot. For me that is what I was looking at and shooting for. Our golf team was 16 strong this year, and I hope that it keeps getting bigger every year. It is such a great experience for kids, not only socially, but mentally as well.”
The Bulldogs will now turn their attention to the spring golf season, which will start Saturday, April 4, at the Worland Invitational.
“I am not overly stressed about our spring season,” Lundberg said. “I just want the kids to be able to come out and have fun and play golf to get ready for the summer and next fall. If we continue with our combination agreement with Rocky Mountain, it would be great to get a couple more kids that want to give golf a try and see what we can do there. We have a great core group of kids and I know they will continue to be good ambassadors for our school and the sport of golf.”
By Sam Smith