Liz Rohl was outside Clifton Highlands’ clubhouse when the final scores of Wednesday’s Middle Border Conference golf meet came in.
When her teammates confirmed the results were in their favor through the clubhouse's window, Rohl pumped her fist in the air and allowed her smile to take over.
The Prescott Cardinals had just won their second meet of the week and of program history by shooting a 187 and edging out the New Richmond Tigers by four strokes on Prescott's home course.
“We feel really hyped right now,” Prescott freshman Ava Salay said as her teammates celebrated another victory with each other and their relatives.
“And excited,” senior Alexis Fredericks added.
Salay and Fredericks led the Cardinals to a first-place finish by completing Clifton Highlands in 41 and 44 strokes. Salay’s score of 41 landed her in a tie for first place with New Richmond’s Lanie Veenendahl, while Fredericks’ 44 earned her a tie for fourth-place with St. Croix Central’s Sally Vangsness. Rohl’s score of 49 was good enough for an eighth-place finish.
“We were all tired today, but I thought we played well and battled through the wind,” Salay said.
With the win, the Cardinals are now three points behind the Tigers in the conference standings and will have to win out to defeat the longtime defending conference champions.
But the Cardinals don’t feel burdened by pressure. They’re just happy to have something to compete for.
“I think there’s pressure, but it’s good pressure,” Salay said.
“It’s new compared to where this program was when I was a freshman,” Fredericks said.
The Cardinals plan to continue to work on their short game and work out their kinks before Monday’s meet at Pheasant Hills and before the MBC Tournament, which will be held at Ellsworth Country Club at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
“We’re not done here,” Fredericks said. “We just keep upping our goals.”
Carlson ‘couldn’t be happier’
Holly Carlson knew what she had to do in the final hole of Wednesday’s meet.
The Ellsworth senior was tied with Fredericks who had lined up a closer putt than Carlson on the ninth hole of their round.
“I knew I needed to make the 3-foot square, and I actually ended up hitting it in,” Carlson said. “As soon as I hit it in, I just looked at Carson and my dad, and I knew that all my hard work and all that I put into it just like came down to this final putt and I just made it.”
Wednesday’s meet provided interfering wind on top of the challenges of Clifton Highlands, but Carlson didn’t allow the barriers to throw off her game. Her final putt landed her a score of 43 and a third-place finish.
“It was super, super windy the first six holes,” Carlson said. “The greens are really uneven, every single spot is narrow, you’ve got trees, and fall, I guess, is coming early so you’ve got leaves on the ground, and it’s hard to tell where your ball might be. I came in here knowing I might get a high score, it’s fine, but I had some decent 10-foot putts that I made today that helped me with my score.”
Carlson’s 43 led Ellsworth to a fourth-place finish behind the St. Croix Central Panthers who recorded a team score of 198 and defeated Ellsworth by seven strokes.
The Panthers have been battling injuries and illnesses the past week and are still without varsity starter Ruby Straub whose back injury they hope heals before Wednesday’s MBC Tournament. If Straub isn’t ready to go, the Panthers will just expect the next best player to step up — just as they have all season long.
“They’ve really shown me that we can take any players and be a team together,” Carlson said. “I couldn’t be happier right now with my team and myself, and I just, I mean, I could be crying tears of joy right now.”
The Cardinals and Panthers will conclude their regular-season MBC play in Hammond at Pheasant Hills Golf Course on Monday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m.
Team scores: 1. Prescott (187) 2. New Richmond (191) 3. St. Croix Central (198) 4. Ellsworth (205) 5. Somerset (222) 6. Baldwin-Woodville (224) 7. Osceola (233)
Prescott: Salay (41), Fredericks (44), Rohl (49), Jessica Heinsch (53), Lindsay Olson (54)
Ellsworth: Carlson (43), Charlize Smith (50), Anna Sweere (51), Stella Anderson (61), Kennedy Schommer (63)
Prescott ends New Richmond's MBC winning streak
The Prescott Cardinals had a good feeling about their chances against the New Richmond Tigers on Tuesday.
“Us coaches were feeling good about where all of the girls' games are at, and Alexis especially had a good feeling,” Cardinals’ head coach Chad Salay said. “The first thing she said to me when I saw her today was that she was going to have a great round.”
After that, Fredericks went on to play six holes just one over par, ending the nine-hole course with a score of 40 and a first-place team finish.
The Cardinals defeated the Tigers by seven strokes at the Ellsworth Country Club on Tuesday, giving the Tigers their first conference loss in more than five years. The Cardinals’ team score of 179 was a new school record, but Salay believes there’s still another level of play his No. 3-ranked Cardinals can get to.
“I think we played very well, but I think we have an even better round out there,” Salay said. “This is where we wanted to get to, though. We wanted to be able to beat or at least compete with New Richmond when we didn’t necessarily have our ‘A’ game.”
The Cardinals were led by their 1-2 punch of Salay and Fredericks who placed first and second with scores of 39 and 40. Rohl also shot under 50 by recording a 49, respectively.
“The thing that I am most excited about is that the girls continue to get better and we are continuing to trend upward as we get closer and closer to tournament series golf,” coach Salay said. “The girls were super pumped to take down New Richmond and even more excited now to get back to our home course tomorrow and see if we can do it again.”
The Ellsworth Panthers finished in fourth place at their home meet after recording a team score of 203, which set them 14 strokes behind the third-place St. Croix Central Panthers.
Carlson led the Panthers with a 47 and was followed closely behind by Sweere who shot a 48. Carlson’s 47 earned her a ninth-place finish, while Sweere’s 48 landed her in a three-way tie for 10th place with Osceola’s Madi Link and Brooklyn Wagner.
Team scores: 1. Prescott (179) 2. New Richmond (186) 3. St. Croix Central (189) 4. Ellsworth (203) 5. Osceola (207) 6. Amery (210) 7. Baldwin-Woodville (212) 8. Somerset (224)
Prescott: Salay (39), Fredericks (40), Rohl (49), Olson (51), Heinsch (55).
Ellsworth: Carlson (47), Sweere (48), Smith (51), Anderson (57), Schommer (66)