Athlete of the week: Payson Birkeland

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) Belle Fourche is coming off their first state A girls golf championship due to an incorrectly filled out scorecard from a Sioux Falls Christian golfer.

Payson Birkeland says, ' For us to be able to get second we thought that was amazing. I think that was the highest finish Belle had had to that point. Then we got the heartbreaking news that Kate had been disqualified and her team was now second place. It was humbling for us because of how we won. but it really didn't matter, rules are rules, you can't take away from the state championship.'

The Broncs were led by Payson Birkeland. And golf isn't the only spring sport the junior competes in.

Clark Gusso says, ' Payson Birkeland is eclectic, to say the least. Not too many young ladies balance golf and rodeo in the same season. To see her walk in for her practice round at the state tournament with her cowboy boots, buckle, she gets some looks.

Birkeland is a champion in breakaway roping and used those skills on the golf course.

Gusso says, ' She had a rope around her waist. I said Payson what are you going to rope out here being smart-aleck, Well there was a cart broken down on 7 and that's as far away from the clubhouse as you can get. And she pulled that cart all the way in.'

Birkeland says, ' I don't know they said it was broken so I had to fix it. There was something inside that I have to help them fix this. I get it back to the clubhouse and there was a couple guys sitting there and their eyes were about that big.'

While some may see that feat is tough, for Birkeland it is all about how you face your challenge

Birkeland says, ' It's more about perspective. How you look at things, if you make things tough it will be tough, if you say it will be easy, it will be easy for you. It's just how you take things. '

Being the defending state champion Birkland will be ready for all challengers.

Gusso says, ' So I don't really think this target thing is going to bother her, in fact, she might even help paint it on.'

A target on the course her senior her targets possibly in her future well beyond that.

Gusso says, ' She'll be going on Saturday to Annapolis to the summer seminar for the Naval Academy as a prospective shipman.'

Even the open waters won't keep the State A champion away from the green which is the area she most wants to improve on most

Birkeland ' Putting. Then at state I putted very well which doesn't happen for me.'

Congratulations to Payson Birkeland on being this week's athlete of the week. Jeff Voss, Black Hills Fox Sports