Capping a great career
Olivia Wellenstein watched as her best golfer walked up and down the driving range, giving swing tips to underclassmen. The Dickinson girls golf coach stayed out of the way and soaked up the final days her team would benefit from the leadership o...
Olivia Wellenstein watched as her best golfer walked up and down the driving range, giving swing tips to underclassmen.
The Dickinson girls golf coach stayed out of the way and soaked up the final days her team would benefit from the leadership of senior Chivas Beaudoin.
"Chivas will just, out of the blue, walk down there and look at somebody else's swing and start having them swing for her," Wellenstein said.
However, the coach does not have many opportunities remaining to watch Beaudoin provide a positive influence.
The 2005 state champion will wrap up an illustrious high school career on Monday and Tuesday at the Class A state girls golf meet at Rose Creek Golf Course in Fargo.
"It's going to be really sad," said Beaudoin, who has led the state in 18-hole average the past two seasons. "I was even getting sad at this last regional tournament."
Building a legacy
While it will be difficult for Beaudoin to say goodbye to high school golf, it may be even more complex for the Midgets to go on without her.
Through her five-year career, Beaudoin has built a legacy unlike any other Dickinson female golfer.
Beaudoin, who attends Dickinson Trinity and competes with Dickinson High through their long-standing cooperative agreement, leaves a legacy that can't be easily categorized.
She's a champion and a fan favorite and is respected by coaches and peers alike. The respect goes so deep that simply defeating Beaudoin has become a goal for several opposing golfers.
When Beaudoin doesn't take medalist, she keeps things interesting. She finished less than three strokes out of first place in each of the meets she did not win. She has four wins on the season, including the West Region championship.
Her skills have allowed her to take on a new role. One that can only be described as student coach.
"It's an individual sport, that's what you think of it at first," Beaudoin said. "But, when you're in the high school season, it turns into such a team sport and you want to do anything you can to help out the younger girls. ... It's not like you want to sit there and watch somebody struggle."
Shaynna Mann, who is also a senior at Trinity and holds the state's 11th-best 18-hole average, says even though Beaudoin is her equal off the course, it is advantageous to listen to her golf advice.
"She has good insight. ... She really knows a lot about the game," Mann said. "Even with me, I can ask her just to watch one quick thing and she can figure out what's going on. Just to have that there, it helps our team a lot."
Dickinson freshman Jenna Wellenstein has been Beaudoin's shadow since she joined the varsity last fall, all but eliminating the age that usually separates upperclassmen from their younger teammates.
"She helps me because I always go (swing) to the right, so she helped me fix that," Jenna Wellenstein said.
Recently, the Midgets got a taste of life after Beaudoin. They finished second - five strokes out of first - without her at a meet at Tom O'Leary Golf Course in Bismarck. Junior Caitlin Dunn said the meet was an eye-opening experience.
"We won't be quite as good, but we'll be in there," Dunn said.
To walk into the Heart River Golf Course clubhouse and hear retired men speak about Beaudoin's talent isn't peculiar.
Olivia Wellenstein said she is peppered with questions about the senior almost daily.
"My personal feeling is, it might take a long time for a person to do as well as she did," Wellenstein said. "I think she's made a name for herself here. I think she's going to continue to make a name for herself at the college level and she's a very determined and focused person. She will accomplish what she wants to accomplish."
Bowling Green, University of North Dakota, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Florida and Wisconsin are among the schools interested in signing Beaudoin. Bowling Green and UND have offered full scholarships and Wisconsin would like Beaudoin to walk on. Still, she plans to wait until at least Nov. 1 to make a decision.
Because Class A golfs in the fall, Beaudoin plans to participate in several events in next spring and summer, including the North Dakota Junior Tour - which she can play in until she is 18 - and the North Dakota Women's Stroke Play Championship, which Beaudoin won last summer.
"It's just a really exciting tournament," she said. "I wasn't going in there expecting to win, but going in there knowing I had the chance. Just winning is such a big confidence boost, especially against all that competition."
However, Beaudoin's biggest goal entering the state meet is forgetting what happened this time last year at Riverwood Golf Course in Bismarck. Beaudoin, trying to defend the state title she won as a sophomore, finished 10 strokes out of first and took fourth.
She doesn't dwell on the difficult two days though.
"You've just got to go out and play well," Beaudoin said. "It's such good competition. If you go out and have a bad day, you're not going to win."
Beaudoin doesn't want to go out anywhere but on top either, even though she tries not to put equal emphasis on winning both the individual and team titles.
"You have to have the kind of mentality where you know you're good enough to win," Beaudoin said.