The 2019 WIAA State Golf Championships will go down as a ground-breaking tournament for the girls from the Middle Border Conference.
The MBC produced four of the top seven individual players and two of the top three teams in the Division 2 state tournament. Prescott and St. Croix Central placed second and third in the Division 2 team results. Prescott freshman Ava Salay placed second, Somerset’s Haley Myers tied for fourth in the individual rankings. St. Croix Central’s Sally Vangsness and Ellsworth’s Holly Carlson tied for sixth place as the MBC dominated the individual results. The MBC had five schools represented at the state meet, with New Richmond’s Jessica Hagman playing well in the Division 1 tournament.
St. Croix Central
This was the first time a Central team has qualified for the state tournament since 2003. The Panthers were seeded in the lower half of the six-team D2 field, but they proved they were among the top teams in the bracket. The Panthers shot 395 on the opening day, 10 strokes ahead of fourth place Osseo-Fairchild.
The Panthers shot 395 again on Tuesday, which ranked second among the Division 2 squads. Madison Edgewood annually wins the Division 2 title and did so again this year, with a 702 score. Prescott was second at 773 and Central was third at 790.
Central’s success at state was produced by strong individual rounds. Vangsness was sharp and consistent throughout her two days. Her rounds of 86 and 87 put her at 173, tying with Carlson for sixth place. The 86 shot by Vangsness on Monday broke Central’s 18-hole team record. Central coach Logan Kimberly said Vangsness was having some difficulties with her irons, but her driving and putting were able to carry her to the top 10 finish.
She wasn’t the only Panther who played at a record pace. Senior Brooklyn Mishler tied for 13th by shooting 186. Her 186 set a team record for the state tournament, but it was broken 30 minutes later when Vangsness’ scores were reported. Mishler finished with rounds of 95 and 91. Mishler ranked second in the D2 tournament with four birdies and Vangsness tied for third with three of them.
Senior Parker Chladek placed 27th with a 212 score. She finished with scores of 108 and 104. Jenna Wehausen placed 30th in the D2 state field. She had a score of 219 on rounds of 106 and 113. Sydney Burgess placed 36th at state. Her scores of 119 and 115 gave her a 234 total.
Kimberly was quite enthused over the Panthers’ performance at state.
“This is the best girls golf team we've ever had at SCC.” he said. “It's been an exhilarating and exhausting three days, but all worth it and an awesome experience.”
Kimberly said the Panthers’ conditioning showed as three of the girls improved their scores in the second day of the tournament. Four of the Panthers had nine-hole scores in the 40s during the tournament.
This was the third state tournament for the Somerset senior and Myers achieved her goal of improving in each of her state tournaments. She placed 23rd as a sophomore and 13th as a junior, capped by her fourth place performance as a senior.
Myers was tied for third place after Monday’s opening round, shooting an 83. Myers shot a 44 in her first nine, then picked up her game in the afternoon, shooting a 39. That included a near ace, with her drive just lipping out, leaving her a tap-in for the birdie. She had another birdie shortly after.
In the second day of the tournament Myers struggled a bit with the accuracy of her drives, shooting a 45 on the front nine and a 44 on the back. This left Myers with a two-day score of 172, tying Northwestern’s Kiernan Smith for fourth place. This is the best finish ever by a Somerset golfer in a WIAA state tournament. Her 83 on Monday and 172 total score are both Somerset state records. Myers and Smith had the top finishes among the individual qualifiers for the state tournament.
The tournament was an emotional time for the Myers family.
“As a coach it is very special to get to work with a player like Haley, the drive and determination to improve is something to admire,” said her dad. “As her dad and coach I'm blessed to be a part of her career and be inside the ropes to have that memory.”