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'We got to do this together:' Mallory Belka repeats as state champ, Marcus third in final high school meet

Twins Mallory and Marcus Belka finished their high school golf careers on the podium at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan at the Class 2A state championships

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Mallory, left, and Marcus Belka finished first and third at the Class 2A state chhampionships at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan on June 14-15. Mallory finished with a two-day score of 114. Marcus recorded a 145. Mallory will golf at the University of St. Thomas next fall, while Marcus will plat at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
Contributed / Twitter / @PerhamGirlsGolf
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JORDAN – Mallory and Marcus Belka have golfed together for as long as they can remember.

On Wednesday, their high school careers came to an end at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course with medals around their necks. Mallory won her second consecutive Class 2A state championship, while Marcus tied for third place.

“It feels good to know that all of the hard work and time paid off,” Marcus said. “There were a lot of days on the range and a lot of work put into this. It just feels really good.”

Mallory won the 2021 individual title with a two-day score of 148, beating the next best competitor by nine strokes. This time, the task at hand was much different.

Thunderstorms hindered the field on Wednesday, forcing the Minnesota State High School League to shift to a nine-hole day two instead of the traditional 18. Mallory, who led by two strokes after day one, had only the back nine to close out her state championship.

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“My original tee time was 12:36, so we got there at about 10:45,” Mallory said. “It just started down pouring, and we had no idea when it was going to end. We waited around. It felt like forever. Once they made the decision to only play nine holes I felt more pressure. One bad hole can change everything. I didn’t know if I was going to have a good or bad nine, and there’s no way to recover in nine holes.”

Mallory finished with a two-over-par day two for a total score of 114. She beat Lake City’s Ella Matzke by three strokes, and was one of four Section 8-2A golfers on the podium.

“This whole season has been about going to state and doing it again,” Mallory said. “I definitely felt more pressure this year than I did last year, and most of that pressure was put on myself. Knowing that you’re good enough to win it all year is different when you try to do it again, so it felt really good.”

Mallory finished her round with 12 groups behind her. Waiting to find out if she would win a second state championship was the hardest part.

“It wasn’t fun,” Mallory said on watching the other golfers come through. “The reception on the back nine is really bad. We got the scores from the first three holes, but it kind of paused after that. Then all of the scores just started coming in and I felt so relieved–just so happy.”

It's great to see all of the hard work pay off
Marcus Belka

Ridges at Sand Creek has been good to Mallory rain or shine.

“The front nine is laid out really well. You can take your driver and just kind of go for it,” Mallory said. “The back nine is a lot different. You have to lay up in front of the creeks and be more strategic about everything. It’s really cool to play a course where it lets you play both ways.”

While Mallory’s goal was to notch a second state title, Marcus was hoping to rewrite his finish from last year. A tough day-two landed him in 57th place. This time, he had the third lowest score at 145.

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“I was really nervous last year,” Marcus said. “It was my first time at state, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I just took it all in this time. Like I said before, it’s just great to see the hard work pay off.”

“I just wanted to take it one shot at a time. was only focused on hitting the next fair way, getting the next shot on the green and making the next putt. It felt really good to put it all together.”

Marcus was in the middle of his round when the storms rolled through. The rain challenged the golfers to play on a different landscape after the delay.

“I was three-under-par through eight before the rain,” Marcus said. “It was really tough. We stayed there for about two, maybe two and a half hours before we could go back out. We didn’t get a chance to warm up either. The greens were really slow and everything was wet. After a few holes, I got the hang of it again. But it was definitely something to figure out.”

The Belka twins are both headed to play golf at the collegiate level. Mallory is going to the University of St. Thomas, while Marcus will be a Maverick at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

I had six great years playing for Perham
Mallory Belka

“I can’t wait,” Marcus said on playing college golf. “I’m ready for the next chapter. I’m excited to meet all of the new people and play on the new courses. It’ll be fun to play at that next level, and I’m really excited to be going to Mankato.”

“I had a great six years playing for Perham, but I’m ready for something new,” Mallory said. “I fell in love with UST the second I got there. The coach is great, and I already know some of the girls. I’m excited to see what it’s like playing at new courses with new people.”

The Belkas have played hundreds of rounds together, leading them to a pair of podium finishes at the state championships. Ending their high school careers with medals was the goal, but doing it together made it special.

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“I’m so proud of him,” Mallory said of Marcus. “He wanted to do well after not having his best day last year. We practice all the time together and we push each other to do well. It meant a lot for us to play good at state together.”

“It’s really cool we got to do this together,” Marcus said. “We’ve been playing together for as long as I can remember. We push each other. It’s cool to see us both finish high school at state like that.”

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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