After facing some outside doubt at the beginning of their 2019 season, the Spring Valley Cardinals have concluded their 2019 golf season with proof of their potential and a sixth-place finish in the WIAA Division 3 State Golf Tournament.
The Cardinals placed sixth out of eight teams at Tuesday's meet at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison after completing the 27-hole tournament with a team score of 558. Divisions 2 and 3 were scheduled to golf 36 holes but were reduced to 27 due to morning storms.
"I was very pleased with how the kids did," Cardinals' head coach Matt Ducklow said. "Taking sixth place out of eight teams at the state tournament is a great accomplishment for these kids; nobody expected them to do this well."
Ducklow said his team's nerves were present on Monday, June 3, the first day of the tournament, but that things picked up on their nine-hole second day, which featured a three-hour weather delay.
The Cardinals were led by junior Colton Kotval who finished with a 23-over-par 131 to tie for 23rd place overall. Kotval ended the first day in a tie for 24th place after shooting an 88 but moved up to 23rd with his Tuesday, nine-hole score of 43.
The Cardinals advanced to the state tournament after placing second at the Cumberland sectional where they shot a season-best, 18-hole score of 339.
"I think what allowed our team to perform so well at the sectional was that we really had no pressure on us," Ducklow said. "Due to placing fourth at regionals, our goal was to go out early and post a good score for the other teams to see and put all the pressure on them. That is exactly what we did."
A motivating chip on their shoulders gave the Cardinals some leverage at sectionals, too.
"Motivation was also a key factor with some things that were said about our kids not doing well without (2018 state champion) Tyler (Leach)," Ducklow said.
At the conclusion of the season, the Cardinals have a trip to University Ridge to base the success of their season off of and serve as motivation for next season. Ducklow and his golfers are excited to return all but one of their varsity golfers next season, including first-team All-Conference players Kotval and Trevor Stangl, but will miss the leadership they received from senior Josh Hannack.
"We will miss Josh next year," Ducklow said. "He golfed No. 3 for us all year, and was probably our most consistent golfer all year. His leadership will be lost."
Roncalli won the Division 3 tournament with a team score of 493, and 2018's third-place finisher Drake Wilcox of Sheboygan AL won the individual championship with a one-over-par 109.
Spring Valley: t23. Kotval (131) t32. Stangl (140) t34. Hannack (142) 41. Kaleb Olson (145) 50. Kurtis Kerr (171)