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Linked: After reaching state in '21, A/E golfers are feeling confident in '22

During another poor weather day, Adrian/Ellsworth golfer Logan Nogosek takes a swing during a digital golf practice in head coach Ben Henning's Adrian garage. Tim Middagh / The Globe
During another poor weather day, Adrian/Ellsworth golfer Logan Nogosek takes a swing during a digital golf practice in head coach Ben Henning's Adrian garage. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe

ADRIAN -- The Adrian/Ellsworth high school golf program hit the lottery in 2021 when the Dragons, after never ever qualifying a team for the state tournament, qualified not one, but two of them.

Both the girls and the boys squads went as teams to the Class A state event at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.

Today, the Dragons feel capable of doing the same in 2022.

“I think we have a pretty good chance of going to state with both the boys and girls again,” said second-year head coach Ben Henning. “On the boys’ side, Lakeview joined our section this year. They’re gonna be tough (A/E lost to Lakeview by 10 strokes in an early-season contest at Marshall). The girls’ side is going to be a tough matchup because Westbrook(-Walnut Grove) and HL-O/F (Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda) combined this year. They’ll have a pretty decent team.”

Adrian / Ellsworth 2022 spring golf team (from left) Logan Nogosek, Anthony Remakel, Brock Henning, Ethan Langseth, Landyn Loosbrock, Preston Vortherms, Madeline Wagner, Olivia Lehnhoff, Taya Elias and Josi Altman.
Adrian/Ellsworth 2022 spring golf team members are (from left) Logan Nogosek, Anthony Remakel, Brock Henning, Ethan Langseth, Landyn Loosbrock, Preston Vortherms, Madeline Wagner, Olivia Lehnhoff, Taya Elias and Josi Altman.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

The Dragons, however, have pretty decent teams, too. Brock Henning is the clear leader on the boys’ outfit, coming off a year where he was co-medalist in Section 3A. Also on hand are fellow juniors Logan Nogosek, Landyn Loosbrock and Ethan Langseth. The girls return senior Jodi Altman and juniors Taya Elias and Madeline Wagner. Olivia Lehnhoff, another junior, should be a key contributor in her first year with the team.

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Brock had participated before 2021 in the individual portion of the state meet. He’s also the head coach’s younger brother.

Both Ben and Brock admit that taking orders from an older sibling isn’t always easy.

Ben says his younger brother is a confident linkster almost on the cocky side, adding, “He’s just a solid scorer we can count on every time. He’s really good at iron shots, dialing them in. His iron shots are on point.

“It’s a lot different coaching than playing with him,” Ben continued. “He likes to talk some smack when we play. I think coaching-wise, he’s a little resistant to taking my advice. But most of the time he does.”

Brock concurs. “It’s ‘cuz he’s my brother. But yeah, he’s a good coach. He knows what he’s doing.”

In Nogosek, said the coach, he has a long driver who only needs to gain a little more confidence. Loosbrock is improving every year, especially in his swing technique. Langseth got new clubs this year and can also hit long.

The girls are trying to replace last year’s leader, Gracia Elias, who graduated after placing third overall in the 2021 section meet. Fortunately, they do return Altman, who has been playing on varsity since her seventh-grade season.

Taya Elias was the team’s leader after Day One of the state tournament and played a round with the state champion. “I think that helped her a lot, because she learned not only that she can stick them, but she did better than them on a couple of holes,” said Coach Henning.

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Lehnhoff has learned quickly that she can be a big help to the girls’ team. Wagner, too, is always capable of shooting a low score despite the fact that she feels comfortable with only four of her clubs.

“I’m just not confident in my other clubs yet,” she admitted. “I’m not confident in one of my woods, my 3 or 5-wood, I’m not really sure. And my 5 and 6-irons. I like my 7. My 7’s my favorite.”

It’s an eclectic mix of golf talent making up the Adrian/Ellsworth program. But together, they head into the bulk of the 2022 season feeling good about themselves.

Last year, said Coach Henning, showed “just that they always are working hard to get better. At the beginning of the year they didn’t even think about making it to state.”

For Brock, last year was a real trip.

“I went (to state) my eighth-grade year, and this was better. Because I got to stay at the hotel with all my buddies and practice with them, too,” he said.

Whatever clubs she decides to use, added Wagner, she looks forward to what comes next.

“I feel good. It kind of boosts my confidence to know I have a chance, and that makes me want to do better. Ben has made a real difference, too, being a new golf coach. It was a fresh start.”

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Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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