Don't look now, but the Wildcat girls golf season is nearly half over.
But if the Cats' performance up until now is any indication, they should be right in the thick of the race for the Big Rivers Conference title come the conference tournament Sept. 21 in Hudson.
So far this season, the Cats have taken care of Rice Lake in a BRC dual and finished third in a pair of tournaments -- the River Falls Invitational Aug. 16 and the Old Abe Invite Aug. 21. Most recently, the Cats placed three golfers in the top 10 to help the North defeat the South in the North/South Shootout last week in Rice Lake.
"We have five players who are solid players, plus two or three waiting in the wings," head coach Deb Meyer said. "It is comforting as a coach to know you don't have to assume the number five's score is an automatic throw out as many coaches do."
Last week at Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake, the Big Rivers Conference teams, plus New Richmond, took on the Mississippi Valley Conference schools, plus La Crosse Aquinas, for the North/South Shootout. The top 15 scores from each side were added up and in the end the North defeated the South by over 100 shots.
Three Wildcats finished in the top 10 overall. Senior Lindsey Wells paced the squad with an 86 while seniors Morgan Loney and Ali Knotek each carded a 91.
"No other schools could say that," Meyer said about having three players in the top 10. "Even better, the two other girls who didn't place -- Katie Herum and Mackenzie Casey -- have both shot scores in the past that would have been considered medalists."
The Cats opened the season with a win over Rice Lake on Aug. 15. Wells earned medalist honors with nine-hole score of 41 while Loney added a 42, Herum 43 and Knotek 45. Casey's very respectable score of 47 was dropped from the Cats' team total.
"They all played very well and were able to capitalize," Meyer said.
Two days later at the River Falls Invitational, Onalaska won the large school division ahead of second place Holmen and the third place Wildcats. Wells led River Falls with a score of 87 while Casey came in with 91.
The Cats finished third again at the Old Abe Invite last Monday at Hillcrest Country Club in Eau Claire.
"I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse," Meyer said. "My thoughts are, it's a good place to be for this point in the season. We are close enough to reach first place, but we know we have some work to do before we get to that point."
Meyer said the biggest strength on this year's team is its experience. Four of the five starters -- Wells, Loney, Knotek and Herum -- played varsity golf a year ago while Casey served as the team's alternate.
"This is Lindsey's fourth year as a varsity player and the other three have played varsity pretty consistently since they were sophomores," Meyer said. "The girls are finally realizing their potential and are developing the confidence necessary to take it to the next level."
Meyer said any one of the five players is capable of shooting the low score for the team on any given day.
"I like that the team is also able to maintain even with what they would consider to be a pretty rough day on the course," she said. "When I ask how they are doing and they say 'bad' but come in with a 92, we are OK."