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Waldorf holds fourth in NSAA Championships

By Matt Oliver

The Waldorf College women’s golf team concluded the first stage of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Championships with a fourth-place finish on Tuesday.

Fernanda Valdes led the Warriors, claiming sixth place with a 162-stroke total in the two-day, 36-hole tournament. She put together rounds of 79 and 83 on the par-72 layout at the Oxbow Country Club. The sophomore from Morelia, Mexico is currently nine strokes away from the top individual score.

“She’s right there contending for a top-three spot overall,” Waldorf coach Mark Clouse said.

Junior Maggie Peters secured 12th for the Warriors, firing a 173 following rounds of 85 and 88. Sophomore Trinity Hill tied for 13th with a 175 behind rounds of 89 and 86.

“If it weren’t for two bad holes, you’d see Maggie in the top seven as well,” Clouse said. “Trinity played pretty solid golf for both days.”

Valdes, Peters and Hill carded consistent rounds to help position Waldorf for a run in the final two rounds of the conference tournament, which will be held in the spring.

“Three girls in the top 13 is really good,” Clouse said. “It’s nice to see all three of them shooting in the 80s or below both days.”

Sophomore Kailee Ward took 21st, shooting a 196 on rounds of 96 and 100 to contribute the final team score for the Warriors. Freshman Haleigh Biernacki placed 22nd, finishing with a 197 on rounds of 102 and 95.

Bellevue University, ranked No. 7 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, ran away with first place behind a 619-stroke showing. Viterbo University (669) grabbed second to place ahead of the University of Jamestown (689), Waldorf (701) and Valley City State University (805).

“Bellevue is well out into the lead right now, but we’re very competitive right now for that second or third spot in the conference,” Clouse said. “We’re planning to be in that position.”

Bellevue’s Renee Santoyo captured first, carding a 153. Wendy Monfort locked up second with a 155 for the Bruins, who had all five of their golfers place in the top seven.

The conference’s team and individual champions earn NAIA National Tournament bids and will be crowned following the final two rounds of the tournament, which are scheduled for April 25-26 in Lincoln, Neb.

The Warriors play a dual meet on Saturday against an opponent to be determined, starting at 12 p.m. at Forest City’s Bear Creek Golf Course. Closing out the weekend at home, the Warriors host the Waldorf Invitational on Sunday at 11 a.m.

“The weather has been just fantastic,” Clouse said. “We’ve got a couple more tournaments to close out the fall campaign.”