The St. Croix Central girls golfers were part of an outstanding performance by the Middle Border Conference at the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament played at Pheasant Hills Golf Club in Hammond on Tuesday.
The top four teams in the sectional meet were all MBC teams. Prescott won the sectional title by shooting a 390. Central also earned a trip to the state meet by placing second in the sectional tournament. Ellsworth and Somerset were the third and fourth place teams among the eight teams competing.
Two of the three individual state qualifiers from this sectional were also from the MBC. Somerset’s Haley Myers and Ellsworth’s Holly Carlson played their way to state as individuals.
St. Croix Central
Success this season for Central this season has been spelled TEAM. That carried through again Tuesday. The team advancing to state consists of seniors Brooklyn Mishler and Parker Chladek, junior Jenna Wehausen and sophomores Sally Vangsness and Sydney Burgess.
Both seniors have been in the varsity lineup for three years. They said it was after last season’s WIAA regional tournament, which the Panthers won, that the seed was planted to dedicate themselves to work hard all season. The Panthers played extensively through the summer, including Mishler playing in a tournament in Australia.
Chladek said the team has grown extremely close and they are more concerned about the team’s results than individual success.
“We trust each other, that if someone is having a bad day, someone else will step up and have a good day,” Chladek said. Mishler agreed, saying “we’re pretty close. We have a good team dynamic.”
It was Wehausen who stepped up on Tuesday. Wehausen is the fourth player in the Panther lineup, but she came through as Central’s leading scorer at the sectional meet. She earned an individual medal to go along with her state qualifier medal. The second medal was for placing fifth as an individual, shooting a career-best score of 94.
Panther coach Logan Kimberly said Wehausen scored her first career birdie on the second hole and she continued to play strongly from there.
“Jenna shot the round of her life,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly said the depth in the team’s program is an important asset. Burgess is the team’s fifth player, and her 109 score was the best among the fifth players in the sectional.
“That gave us a safety net,” Kimberly said, as Burgess’ score was the first posted among the Panthers.
Vangsness finished at 95, Mishler 97 and Chladek 112 to produce the second place team score in the sectional meet.
This is the second time the St. Croix Central girls team had qualified for state. The first time was in 2003 when the Panthers placed fifth in the Division 2 state meet.
The weather has seemingly been a factor in every golf match of the past few weeks and it was again Tuesday. While there was rare sunshine, there was a massive wind whipping across the course that needed to be accounted for on every shot.
“The wind was a beast,” Kimberly said, saying it made judging distances for shots very difficult.
Myers will be playing in her third straight WIAA state tournament after qualifying as an individual with a score of 88 on Tuesday. She was part of the Somerset team that advanced to state in 2017 and she was an individual qualifier in 2018. She is the first Somerset girl to compete at the state golf tournament three times in her career.
The Spartans placed fourth at the sectional meet, as part of the four MBC teams that took the top spots in the tournament. Isabella Fagan shot a 106 for the Spartans, with Ella Holland at 109, Briley Olson at 110 and Serenity Slayton at 120. The Spartans shot a 208 on the front nine, their best nine-hole score of the season. Then they beat that with a 205 on the back nine.
Somerset coach Todd Myers said the secret to his daughter’s success Tuesday was her consistency, especially with her drives, which helped her reach many greens in regulation. He said they took Haley’s driver out of her bag three weeks ago and replaced it with a 3-wood and her drives have been much more reliable ever since.
She finished 23rd at state as a sophomore and 13th as a junior, so they are setting a goal for her to finish in the top 10 at this year’s state tournament.
Fagan had a strong day with her putter, including producing a birdie on the third hole. Olson finished with her best round of the season and Holland’s recent work on her short game showed in Tuesday’s round. Slayton made the varsity roster for the final two rounds of the season and showed a bright future in the program.