Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Ellie Braksiek is determined to return to the state golf meet.
Sure, she wants to get back and improve last year’s finish. More importantly, the Saints’ junior standout wants a little company if she punches her ticket.
“The big goal for (Monday) is the team,” said Braksiek, who was fifth individually at the 2018 Class 4A state meet. “We missed it by one stroke last year ... that is the main focus.
“We’re trying to get to the state tournament for the first time in a few years.”
Xavier will compete in a Class 3A regional tournament Monday at Waverly Municipal Golf Course. The eighth-ranked Saints join a 12-team field that includes top-ranked Dubuque Wahlert and No. 9 Clear Lake. The top two teams advance to the state tournament May 28-29 at Ames Golf and Country Club.
The Saints haven’t qualified since winning the Class 4A state team title in 2014.
“I think I have put myself in good position, especially with the team,” Braksiek said. “The last few weeks we have really improved. I hope we have peaked at the right time and can make it to state.”
Braksiek earned her second straight first-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference honor last week. She is sixth in 3A with a 42.46 combined adjusted average, but her 78.33 18-hole average is second only to Gilbert defending state champion Britta Snyder.
“I’ve been trying hard to improve,” Braksiek said. “I hope I can get back and contend even more this year.”
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Braksiek put in a lot of time working on her mechanics and mentality. She broke down and improved her swing. Braksiek also recognized the impact of her focus.
“I’ve gotten longer off the tee and all my clubs, in general,” Braksiek said. “The other big difference is my mental game. I feel I can stick with it better and shoot better scores.”
The class may be different this season but her approach and competition are the same.
“There are some strong teams, but I think we have a better chance,” Braksiek said. “Individually, it is pretty similar because there are some really solid players in 3A.”
The Metro teams are spread over three Class 4A sites Monday. Cedar Rapids Washington hosts a 10-team regional at Gardner Golf Course. The Warriors will compete against Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Iowa City West, Wester Dubuque, Clinton, Davenport North, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior and Waterloo East.
Iowa City High will host Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City Liberty at Pleasant Valley Golf Course in Iowa City. Bettendorf, Burlington, Davenport Central, Davenport West, Muscatine, North Scott and Pleasant Valley round out the field.
Linn-Mar, the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division runner-up, is the only Gazette-area team that will travel to a regional at Marshalltown’s American Legion golf course. The Lions will face Ankeny, Cedar Falls, Des Moines Hoover, Newton, Norwalk, Ottumwa, Urbandale and Waterloo West.
Marion will compete in a Class 3A regional at Springbrook Country Club in DeWitt. The field also includes defending team champion Washington. The Demons have won three of the last four team championships and rank second in 3A with a 183.73 combined adjusted average, trailing only Dubuque Wahlert by about six strokes.
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