Barnum girls raise the bar in golf
Barnum eighth-grader Jamie Bird helped carry the Bombers' high school golf program to new heights last week.
Bird and sophomore teammate Kelsey Timm both participated in last week's Class A State Girls Golf Meet at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Minn. -- and the pair of underclassmen set school history within their tiny community.*
"To my knowledge, it's the first time the Barnum program has sent any kids to the state golf tournament," said second-year Coach Cullen Franek, who resurrected the Bombers' golf teams last season since a hiatus from the early 1980s. "They are both excellent kids -- kids you like having on your team."
Franek said Barnum teamed up behind Bird and Timm at the Section 7A meet, placing second by nine strokes, only behind champion Mille Lacs. In fact, Franek noted his girls led the first day of sections by six shots, but were overcome with inexperience, despite Bird placing third and Timm fifth.
"Our whole girls team went on a tear," said Franek, a business instructor at Barnum. "We finished runner-up. I was proud. We have four eighth-graders and two 10th-graders."
One of the those 10th-graders is Timm, a consistent right-hander, who shot a two-day, 36-hole score of 235 last Tuesday and Wednesday, good for 80th place out of 88. Despite her finish, Franek said Timm is dedicated and will attend the University of Minnesota's golf camp this summer.
Bird, still without her driver's license, doesn't even carry a driver on the course. The steady lefty has just irons and her putter, Franek noted. She carded a 209 at State, tying her for 52nd.
"It's a pretty cool thing," Franek said of Bird, whose No. 1 sport is playing hockey for Moose Lake Area. "But the coolest thing was this was all new for us. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, and really, just icing on the cake."
State was also new for Moose Lake-Willow River's Gabe Douglas, a sophomore, who scored a 122, tying for 54th on just 27 holes, including a rain-shortened round Wednesday.
"This is quite the experience for me," Douglas said after competing at the Class AA Boys State Golf Meet in Jordan, Minn. "I hope to be back here again next year, and my senior year."
Cloquet's Brett Morrison ended his senior year last week at the Class AAA boys state meet in Coon Rapids, Minn. Battling a neck injury, the right-hander tied for 70th at a 166.
"I'll never forget this moment," Morrison said last week.
"He was out there almost every day this spring," Coach Jon Horbacz added. "Three or four people have told me he's the first guy for us to get down there in over 15 years."
*Correction: In the 1980s, Barnum had two girls qualify for the State Golf Meet. Kathy Spoolman and Lyn Granda both qualified and attended the meet. Kathy Spoolman also qualified a second year but was unable to attend the meet. Stan Vee was their coach.