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Confidence booster: Cooper takes runner-up, Midgets finish 5th West Region

FNS Photo by John Steiner Dickinson senior Riana Cooper crouches down to line up her putt during the West Region golf tournament on Monday at the Jamestown Country Club.

JAMESTOWN -- All Dickinson senior Riana Cooper wanted out of the West Region Tournament was a little confidence.

Cooper received more than just a little confidence.

The senior finished runner-up after losing in a one-hole playoff against Bismarck Century's Annie Nelson on Monday at the Jamestown Country Club.

"I knew that it was going to be close with a few of the golfers," Cooper said. "I didn't really know how the total scores were going to end up, but I knew that I had a chance and I had to keep my mind in it. I had to stay positive.

"This was a big confidence booster going into state. My swing felt good today."

As a team, Dickinson placed fifth with a 379. However, the place the Midgets finished in was a little deceiving. The top five teams at the West Region tournament finished within six strokes with Bismarck High taking first with a 373.

Century finished runner-up with a 377, Mandan was in third (378) and Jamestown placed fourth (379) at its home course.

"Honestly, where we ended up at doesn't matter as much to me as how well we played," Dickinson head coach Sara Berglund said. "We were only two shots out of second. It was a tight race all day. The course played tough today."

During a phone interview on Saturday, Cooper admitted she hadn't played as well as she could have all season. With Cooper taking runner-up in the West Region, those feelings changed -- drastically.

"Personally, I thought I did well," Cooper said. "It was a really windy out and the greens were hard, but I was happy with the way I finished."

Berglund added: "She went out and put herself in good contention in running for medalist. Just having that confidence helped boost her confidence, she is ready to play in the state, because she knows she can play well."

The Midgets' three other scores came from senior Rachel Jahner with an 88, while junior Rachel Lantz shot a 96 and senior Kelsey Yon fired a 112.

With the state tournament at the Grand Forks Country Club a week away, Berglund said the team is going to spend time working on their short game. The two-day state tournament begins Sept. 30.

"The biggest area is working on our short game, especially at the Grand Forks Country Club because the greens are usually very quick," she said. "We have to do well around the greens to score well."

West Region Tournament

At Jamestown Country Club

Team scores: Bismarck 373, Bismarck Century 377, Mandan 378, Jamestown 379, Dickinson 379, Minot 385, Williston 442, Turtle Mountain 540.

Individual top 10: 1, Annie Nelson, Century, 83, in a 1-hole playoff against Riana Cooper, Dickinson.

Other Dickinson finishers: Rachel Jahner 88, Rachel Lantz 96, Kelsey Yon 112, Katherine Kessel 115, Sydney Charchenko 122.