The Prescott Cardinals’ season-long hashtag “#BeAPartOfHistory” started as a playful recruiting joke.
“Me and my dad and Darren and his daughter Maddie Reiter were all texting in a group chat, and (Maddie) kind of sent (my dad) a funny picture of our board because we don’t have any titles at all,” Prescott freshman Ava Salay explained. “We haven’t really won anything for the entire, like, well, history."
“Maddie Reiter was like, ‘Where are your titles?’ And he was like, ‘They’re coming. #BeAPartOfHistory.’ He was saying we’re going to make history.”
“And we did,” Prescott sophomore Liz Rohl confirmed.
Three months later, the Cardinals’ trophy case will be requiring some updates.
In 2018, the Cardinals finished in the bottom half of the Middle Border Conference standings and were just happy to advance to sectionals for the third time in program history.
But the Cardinals entered the 2019 season with loftier goals — all of which they’ve accomplished.
The 2019 Cardinals, who finished second in this year’s MBC standings, earned the program’s highest finish in the conference and ended New Richmond’s five-year conference streak by defeating the Tigers at Ellsworth’s invitational on Sept. 17. Four members of this year’s Cardinal squad were named to the MBC All-Conference list — Alexis Fredericks, Jessica Heinsch, Rohl and Salay, this year’s MBC Player of the Year who recorded a perfect conference score by earning medalist honors at all 10 MBC meets. Not to mention, the Cardinals' varsity reserve team won the JV MBC title.
They didn’t just advance to sectionals, but they won a regional title. And most recently, they shot a 390 at sectionals to bring home another trophy and accomplish their ultimate goal: advance to the WIAA Division 2 girls’ golf state championships.
The Cardinals were still shell-shocked 24 hours after Tuesday’s sectional win.
“Wagner came up to me and was like, ‘Congratulations,’ and I was like, ‘On what?’” Heinsch said after Wednesday’s practice.
“It probably won’t seem real to me until we’re at University Ridge (Golf Course),” Lindsay Olson added.
And yet, the Cardinals knew completing their season in Madison was an attainable goal after their first conference meet at Krooked Creek Golf Course in August.
“I remember the first tournament in Osceola our first conference meet, I was like, ‘OK, second place,’” Rohl said. “I feel like the more we got into it, the more realistic that goal became.”
Of course, adding freshman Salay — whose talent has not been topped since Aug. 22 when she was defeated by Hudson’s Paige Hillman at Lake Wissota Golf Course — into the mix has done wonders for the Cardinals’ success.
But the Cardinals’ transformation goes beyond Salay’s impact.
“I think we’re way more dedicated this year,” Heinsch said. “We practice even on weekends. Before, (coach Salay) would be like, ‘Go have fun this weekend,’ but now we’re going out and playing every day.”
But if it means being competitive, the extra hours are well worth it to the Cardinals.
“It’s not something we consider a burden,” Fredericks said. “Some sports might seem like that to some people.”
“Yeah, some people will be like, ‘I have to go to practice,’ and I’ll be like, ‘I get to go to golf practice,’” Heinsch added.
The Cardinals’ increased dedication to their sport has not only paid off in their trophy case, but it has also forced their classmates to recognize the Prescott girls’ golf program.
“I think in general, people are paying more attention to golf, too,” Salay said. “Even at the high school, I see a lot of people asking about golf who used to never even bring it up.”
The Cardinals hope to give their classmates more to talk about after they return from University Ridge Golf Course next week, but regardless of how they perform in Madison, the Cardinals have not only made history — they’ve also impacted the future of Prescott girls’ golf.
“There’s definitely building interest in golf at the middle school level,” Fredericks said. “That’s really cool to see.”
The Cardinals and Ellsworth senior Holly Carlson will tee off at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison on Monday, Oct. 14, at 8:50 a.m. The two-day state tournament will continue at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.