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Winckler family reunites at classic

LAKE ANDES — Growing up in the Winckler house, everything was a competition.

No matter if Jenna, Krista and Kellie were playing volleyball, basketball, golf or running, they each wanted to win.

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Friday at the Dakota Wesleyan University Palace City Classic, the three sisters will once again compete against each other for the title of best golfer in the family.

“We’re all pretty competitive, especially me and Kellie,” Jenna Winckler said. “Kellie and I always want to beat each other, but I am always happy for her when she has a good round, and she is happy for me when I have a good round.”

Jenna is a junior at DWU and is in the midst of her third year on the women’s golf team. In her first two years on campus, she earned all-Great Plains Athletic Conference first-team honors.

Joining her on the Tiger women’s team is younger sister Krista.

Krista, a freshman on the squad, is just as competitive as her sisters but admits the competition will be between Kellie and Jenna on Friday. Krista, who both sisters describe as the more outgoing of the bunch, has not been playing as long as Jenna and Kellie.

She only started playing golf as a sophomore at Andes Central to help aid her sisters, who were in need of a third player so they could be counted as team at high school golf tournaments. In Class B golf, the top three scores are calculated for team scores.

All three sisters learned how to play from their dad, Randy. Both Randy and Carla Winckler will be at the classic this weekend.

“I did it for them but I ended up really liking the game,” said Krista, whose first love is volleyball. “At first, I was not very good at all. They would take me out and practice all the time, and they taught me things that I needed help with. I started getting better and better the more I did it, and I started seeing this as a way for me to get out and do what I enjoy.”

Krista and Kellie finished their high school careers after helping Andes Central to their first-ever girls’ golf state championship. Krista finished in 10th place in the individual competition, while Kellie — Krista’s twin sister and the youngest of the three — claimed the Class B girls’ individual state title last year.

Like her sisters, Kellie also golfs in college but competes at a conference rival of DWU at Mount Marty. She shot an 83 in her first tournament to set the school record for an 18-hole performance.

Kellie, who is also playing basketball for the Lancers, was described by both of her sisters as the most competitive of the three. Despite Krista and Jenna’s best efforts to recruit Kellie to DWU, she decided to attend Mount Marty because Dimock native Tom Schlimgen, coach of the women’s golf and basketball teams.

“I have always wanted to outdo both of my sisters,” Kellie said. “We were always competitive growing up with each other. I am also really excited to see them at a golf meets, and I am really looking forward to having a good time and playing on the same course as them again.”

Friday will mark the first time all three golfers have competed with or against each other in an official competition since 2011 when Jenna was a senior in high school. Both Kellie and Jenna will be paired together during the DWU Palace City Classic on the first day of competition. The event begins Friday atLakeview Golf Course and concludes Saturday at Wild Oak Golf Club.