Bennion breaks through: JHS freshman wins at Prairie WestFrom 1995 to 2006, the Jamestown High School girls golf team did not have a tournament champion.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
From 1995 to 2006, the Jamestown High School girls golf team did not have a tournament champion.
Laura Kraft took care of that streak in 2007 and proceeded to win 20 tournaments, including three straight state titles. Sarah Nyhus is the only other JHS golfer to win a meet, doing so twice — Grand Forks Country Club in 1993 and Jamestown Country Club in 1994.
There will be no such second drought between medalists, at least not for a while, after Sierra Bennion conquered the wind and a challenging Prairie West Golf Course on Tuesday. The Jamestown High School freshman cleared the field by two strokes to win the Mandan Invitational. Her round of 79 was two shots better than Dickinson junior Rachel Jahner’s 79.
“It was pretty exciting,” Bennion said. “It all kind of clicked.”
Despite her age, the win was not overly surprising. Bennion earned all-state honors last season and has had a solid freshman campaign, but this could be the start of something big. The West Region and state meets also will be played at Prairie West where long hitters like Bennion have an advantage.
“This will be the first of many for Sierra,” said JHS coach Dean Kraft. “We are still gearing up for region and state, so we are excited for the progress she’s made in the last week.”
Bennion, whose mother Julie (Metzger) Bennion was an all-state golfer for the Blue Jays in 1985 and ’86, tapped in for birdie on No. 5 to kick start her round. She had a decent look for eagle. She gave a few shots back on the finishing 9 holes, but was still obviously pleased.
“I played pretty good. … Since West Region and state are there it gives me more confidence,” Bennion said.
She was hoping to break through for a win at some point in the season.
“I definitely wanted to win at least once,” she said.
More victories are likely to follow.
“Her ball striking was as good as I’ve seen this year,” Kraft said. “Players need to hit pure in windy conditions and she did, especially on her approach shots.”
Bennion also credited her coach, who knows these courses inside and out.
“Dean really helped a lot, especially at the end,” Bennion said. “There were a couple of tough spots that he really helped me.”
It was a good day for the Blue Jays as a team as they finished fourth (403) behind only Century, Dickinson and Bismarck.
Maria LeFevre qualified for state for the second straight year with a score of 93, which was tied for 10th.
“It was a good score with the windy conditions,” Kraft said. “(Maria) is back to a position she should be.”
Sarah Azure (114), Kaitlin Mullowney (117), Mara LeFevre (120) and Savannah Kramlich (124) rounded out the lineup.
“Good rounds by our 3-6 players,” Kraft said. “As a team, we got good vibes about Prairie West today, something we hope will carry through to a successful region tournament in two weeks.
“We are really happy with a fourth-place finish.”
The Blue Jays are back in action on Monday at the Turtle Mountain Invite at Rolla Country Club.
At Prairie West Golf Course
5,472 yards, Par 72
1, Bismarck Century 361; 2, Dickinson 383; 3, Bismarck 394; 4, Jamestown 403; 5, Minot 408; 6, Mandan 410; 7, Williston 444.
(Top 20 and JHS results)
1, Sierra Bennion, JHS, 79; 2, Rachel Jahner, Dickinson, 81; 3, Kayla Barke, Williston, 82; 4, Riana Cooper, Dickinson, 84; 5, Alex Leidholm, Century, 74; T6, Annie Nelson, Century, 74; 8, Lindsay Reede, Century; 9, Katie Kasper, Bismarck, 92; 10T, Maria LeFevre, JHS, 93; T10, Sydnie Mongeon, Mandan, 93; 12, Alex Hopkins, Century, 94; 13, Bri Flynn, Century, 96;T14, Taylor Miller, Bismarck, 97; T14, Brianne Hirchert, Mandan, 97; 16, Ashley Doppler, Bismarck, 99; 17, McKinley Bender, Minot, 100; 18, Lauren Bischof, Century, 101; 19T, Gretta Gilje, BHS, 106; 19T, Raegan Linster, Dickinson, 106.
Other JHS results
30, Sarah Azure, 114; 32T, Kaitlin Mullowney, 117; 36, Mara LeFevre, 120; 39, Savannah Kramlich, 124.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org