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Golf season comes to a close

For the first time in several years, Carlton County will not have a representative at the boys or girls state golf championships later this month.

Barnum has been one of the most common qualifiers recently, having made back-to-back team trips in girls Class A in 2014 and 2015, as well as advancing individuals in 2013 and 2016.

Yet, that "four-peat" is now gone for the still newly resurrected Bombers — in just their sixth season back on the links since returning their program in 2012.

According to coach Brent Donaldson, who replaced Cullen Franek in the offseason, the girls finished third out of the 10 schools competing in the Section 7A Championships at Virginia Golf Course on May 24 and 25. The boys placed fifth.

Heading the Bomber boys was sophomore Brandon Calverley who shot a two-day total of 190. A stroke behind was senior Nolan Wickstrom at 191, closely followed by junior Lucas Koecher at 196. For the girls, varsity mainstays senior Geana Guillard and junior Madeline Nelson fired a 195 and 202, respectively.

For Barnum, it marks its first spring since its inaugural season back that it has not been participating in the state championships, held next Tuesday and Wednesday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Minn.

Neighboring Moose Lake-Willow River was oh-so-close to qualifying as well, but the Rebels ran short, according to second-year coach Brad Hubred.

With the 7AA Championships held last Thursday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, Hunter Klund was the lone boys representative, carding a two-day score of 194. Hubred, a former 1998 Rebels grad, said the senior Klund will now head to St. Scholastica.

Meanwhile, for the girls, Maren Mesojedec missed the state cut by a mere 6 stokes, when the freshman fired a 203, followed by junior Ruby Mohelsky's 221. Varsity veteran Future-Hope Vang also posted a 220 in the senior's last prep round of golf. Vang will attend UCLA next fall.

For the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls, senior Emma Lenarz's 105 and freshman Hannah Lundborg's 109 were the Lumberjacks' top scores at last Thursday's 7AAA preliminaries at Grand National Golf Club in Hinckley, but coach Matt Carlson noted neither advanced to finals.

Speaking of the finals, however, Esko duo Matt Radovich and Keegan Poppenberg both prevailed to the last day for the CEC boys, with the junior Radovich's opening 80 and sophomore Poppenberg's 77. In fact, Poppenberg scorched a second-day 72 to tie for fifth overall, noted coach Jon Horbacz.

Yet, heartbreakingly, Poppenberg lost in a playoff hole that would have advanced him to his first-ever state meet.