Lone LRSC women’s golfer Schlenk makes school history

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Lake Region State College head golf coach Blake Reinholt, women’s golf national golf qualifier Kelsey Schlenk and athletic director Danny Mertens.

By Harry Lipsiea

Journal Sports

Kelsey Schlenk is quick to admit that it took some time to get used to the fact that she was the sole member of the Lake Region State College women's golf team.

"It's hard sometimes, because I'm the only girl on the team," the freshman told the Journal Wednesday in an interview. "Going into that first meet, I didn't know anyone so it took a while to get to know people."

It, however, hasn't affected the East Grand Forks, Minn., native's play one bit. The freshman has made history during the 2014 season.

In her debut as a collegiate golfer at the Creel Bay Golf Course this August, Schlenk became the first Royal to ever earn first-place honors at a golf tournament.

Winning has quickly turned into a norm for the freshman, as Lake Region State College's lone golfer on the women's side earned medalist honors at three regular season meets. She won in her first three events earning the top spot at tournaments in Devils Lake, Bismarck and Fergus Falls.

Last week, the Royal golfer placed sixth at the University of Jamestown.

Like all top athletes, Schlenk saved her best for post season. At the Region XIII Tournament held in Fergus Falls, she won the women's division by shooting a two-day score of 170 topping Bismarck State College's Kati Brandt by one.

The golfers battled extremely tough conditions as the wind and bitter cold caused quite the distraction.

After a couple of tough breaks Monday, Schlenk put together the best round of the season to win the Region XIII golf championship. She cut six strokes from her Monday scoring shooting an 82.

"It went pretty well," she stated. "I think the biggest factor was golfing with the best competitors in the tournament that second day. It made for a fun, competitive round of golf. I really enjoyed it."

First-year Lake Region State College head coach Blake Reinholt noted that the battle between Schlenk and Brandt was exciting to watch.

"It got pretty intense down the stretch their," the coach pointed out.

"Things came down to that last hole."

With her performance, Schlenk, who has an 18-hole average of 86.3 this season, has punched her ticket to the national tournament.

The event, held in Mesa, Ariz., begins May 10 and features four 18-hole rounds of golf. It's an opportunity that the Lake Region State College student athlete is looking forward to.

"I'm really excited about it," she stated. “I might try to go down this winter. It will be fun to golf at another new course this year.”

"The chance to just see everyone that made the national tournament is going to be really awesome."

Schlenk's ability to shoot quality rounds day-after-day has been what has separated the golfer from others throughout the season, her coach noted.

"She is able to limit those little mistakes. Kelsey is very consistent," Reinholt pointed out. "Comparing her to other golfers in the region, her game is a lot stronger around the green. She has a very nice short game."

The coach credits the freshman for bringing so much to the table for the third-year Royal golf program.

"Kelsey has helped our program gain respect from other area teams," he stated. "She adds a lot to the team. It’s been a very strong freshman season for her."

It's been an extremely enjoyable first collegiate golf campaign, Schlenk, who is also a member of the Lake Region State College women's basketball team, said. There is, however, one thing she would like to see different in her sophomore campaign.

Schlenk and Reinholt ulitmately have hopes that the Royal women can feature a full tournament squad during the 2015 season.

"I think it would be awesome if we could get some more golfers on the women's team," she said. "It's a fun sport and it's always more enjoyable when you play with other people."