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Team-like: Hopeful Minnesota West women's golf program strives to compete with just two players

Kassidy Weeldreyer, one of two golfers on the Minnesota West Community and Technical College women’s team, admits that it’s a little weird. “It’s really not a team,” she said. “It’s been difficult, because I’ve been used to golfing with a team. You can work more as an individual, but it’s not the same feel.”

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Minnesota West Lady Jays Jadyn Lessman (On Left) and Kassidy Weeldreyer move on to the Ninth hole at the GreatLife Golf & Fitness Club Worthington in tournament play Wednesday afternoon. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Kassidy Weeldreyer, one of two golfers on the Minnesota West Community and Technical College women’s team, admits that it’s a little weird.

“It’s really not a team,” she said. “It’s been difficult, because I’ve been used to golfing with a team. You can work more as an individual, but it’s not the same feel.”

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Kassidy Weeldreyer of the Minnesota West women's golf team, placed high in her South Dakota state high school tournament before moving on to the next level. Golf at West has been a unique experience, mostly because teammates at the Worthington-based college are lacking. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Weeldreyer, a freshman from Newell, S.D., placed among the top ten as a qualifier in the South Dakota state girls high school tournament. She has one teammate this year at West -- Jadyn Lessman. While Weeldreyer is a serious golfer, Lessman, who hails from Tracy, considers it just a hobby.

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Weeldreyer had to talk Lessman into golfing with her at West.

“We actually both signed to play basketball this year. She was just like, nagging on me, ‘It’ll be so much fun,’” Lessman recalled.

“It started off as a joke,” said Weeldreyer.

“I’m actually going to school to be a PE teacher. So it’s good to know more about all sports. So I thought I’d try it. I’ve actually learned a lot,” Lessman explained.

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Minnesota West Lady Jays Jadyn Lessman putts on the eighth hole at the GreatLife Golf & Fitness Club Worthington in tournament play Wednesday afternoon. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

This year marks the first year of competitive golf at Minnesota West in more than 10 years, and the coach, Marty Rickers, totally understands how challenging it is to have only two players on the team. Technically, in fact, it’s just one. Lessman is redshirting, playing as unattached.

“It’s a little lonely (for Kassidy). Once she recruited Jadyn as a second golfer -- at least someone to go along with her to tournaments -- it got better. It’s probably hard sometimes for her to relate to a 66-year-old like me.”

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Last Wednesday, the Lady Jays golf “team” competed in its only Worthington meet this season. At least five meets have been scheduled in this re-boot year, with one or two more still possible. Rickers said he got started on scheduling a little late.

One of the team’s road trips was to Fergus Falls. The three of them together rode five hours one way in a jeep, and the journey won’t soon be forgotten.

“It was long,” said Kassidy.

“We slept most of the way,” said Jadyn.

“We took a detour through all the small towns. We probably could have gotten there faster,” said Kassidy.

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Former MCC golfer Abby Hamman playing for Alexandria Technical and Community College reacts to a putt that just misses the with hole at the GreatLife Golf & Fitness Club Worthington in tournament play Wednesday afternoon. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Rickers, a lifelong golfer, is working with Weeldreyer and Lessman to improve their short games, which most professionals believe is the best way to reduce scores. But it’s been a little difficult for Weeldreyer to buy in to a new teacher.

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“She’s very independent. I think her father was her one and only swing coach her whole life,” Rickers said. “And I’m sure it was hard making the transition from that to someone like me.”

“I’ve been struggling this whole season with my game. For me, it’s just an adjustment from hills (what she’d grown used to in high school) to flatness (in Worthington). You kind of just have to go and have fun. It’s been a hard adjustment, but you gotta make the most of it,” Weeldreyer said.

Both of his golfers , said Rickers, are first and foremost very good athletes. Kassidy drove the ball well early this season and is normally excellent off the tee. After her drives began getting inconsistent, she began hitting with a hybrid and did a bit better. Jayden, too, has a strong swing.

Weeldreyer said she may or may not continue in Minnesota West golf next year, as it probably will depend on whether more players join in. Jayden said she will probably play volleyball next fall instead of golf.

Rickers, of course, hopes to get more than two students interested next year.

“I think I’m dreaming to have a full team of six. But I think if we can get up to four players, that’ll be good. And I’ll get to work on having a fuller schedule, because I’ll get started talking about it sooner,” he said.

Related Topics: GOLF
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