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Red Lake’s Karen Guise in select company as state qualifier

Red Lake High School junior Karen Guise earned a spot at the Class A girls golf state tournament last week by winning a playoff at the Section 8A Tournament.

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Red Lake junior Karen Guise qualified for the Class A girls golf state tournament by winning a playoff on June 2, 2021 at Bemidji Town and Country Club. (Submitted photo)
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Karen Guise had to play one extra hole before it was official.

The Red Lake High School junior was going to the Class A girls golf state tournament.

Guise entered the final day of the Section 8A Tournament in a three-way tie for third after firing a 98 in the first round at Bemidji Town and Country Club last week. The second round didn’t begin the way she would’ve liked.

“I wasn’t doing so hot on Wednesday,” Guise said. “And then for the last six holes I started playing better.”

But she still needed to win a playoff against Mahnomen-Waubun's Cady Clark to determine who’d be the fifth individual, besides the members of team champion Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, to represent Section 8A at state.

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“I was super nervous,” Guise said. “My coaches told me not to be nervous, and that instead of beating like 20 girls, I just had to beat one girl. That really helped me out.”

The advice paid off as Guise prevailed by one stroke to clinch the playoff and the section’s final state tournament spot.

“Her section meet was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in sports,” Red Lake head coach Ron Laituri said. “She really wasn’t playing at her best. And she dug down and had the grit and determination to fight her way back to win a spot to the state tournament in a playoff hole with a gallery.

“It was pretty fantastic to watch. It's a lot of pressure for those kids. She handled it really well.”

Guise is believed to be only the second Red Lake girls golfer to ever qualify for the state tournament. Daisey Mondragon, who made state in 2012, is thought to be the first, and until now, the only Warrior to reach the state tournament.

Guise’s accomplishment puts her in select company.

“I think it’s awesome because at Red Lake we really don’t have that many golfers,” said Guise, who also plays volleyball and basketball for the Warriors. “It’s really nice to go to state and prove Red Lake has some golfers and that we’re not just a basketball school.”

Serenity May and Lailah Dow are the only other members of the Red Lake team, which practices at Castle Highlands Golf Course. May missed qualifying for the section meet by just two shots at the subsection tournament in Park Rapids.

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Despite the 2020 season being canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Guise worked diligently to put herself in a position to achieve her goal.

“Last year, before COVID happened, I kept telling my friends and family that I want to go to state,” she said. “But I’m really excited to go this year.”

As a result, Guise earned Northern Pines All-Conference Second Team honors and was co-medalist at the subsection meet.

“She’s drastically improved,” Laituri said. “She hits her driver straight, she’s got a lot of power in her swing, and she’s got a really good head for the game.”

The Class A girls state tournament tees off at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker. The two-round tournament concludes Wednesday, June 16.

Related Topics: GOLFRED LAKEGIRLS GOLF
Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at sports@bemidjipioneer.com.
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