Fresh off a runner-up finish at state one year ago, the Prescott girls’ golf team started the 2020 fall season right where it left off. The Cardinals have now played in two meets, winning them both.
With four out of five golfers from last year’s team returning for another go-around, Prescott is primed for another successful run. Head coach Chad Salay said that although 2020 graduate Alexis Fredericks’ leadership will be tough to replace this fall, the talent level remains the same if not higher due to experience.
“We’re hoping there’s not much of a lapse and actually an increase of performance on the course,” he said. “Early indications show summer growth; kind of hopeful that that’s the case but you never know until you get out there.”
In their first attempt on the course, it appears Salay was correct in his assessment. Traveling to Amery for an eight-team invitational Aug. 21, Prescott took first place with a team score of 361. New Richmond was five strokes behind and Baldwin-Woodville was a distant third (431).
Three Prescott golfers finished in the top-10 overall as well. Ava Salay won medalist honors after shooting 1 under par overall. Salay finished five strokes ahead of New Richmond’s Lanie Veenendall who shot 76. Prescott had two other golfers finish the invite in the top 10 — Liz Rohl (fifth, 92) and Rhi Stutz (ninth, 96).
Stutz, who was the sixth golfer on last year’s team, is someone that Salay expects to make some huge gains this fall.
“She put in some major improvement over the summer,” Salay said. “She’s shooting some scores that would be top-five in the conference scores this year.”
Another golfer to keep an eye on would be Ava Salay. Just a sophomore, she’s consistently at the top of the field, including a second-place finish at state last fall. After earning medalist honors Friday, she doubled down with as the co-medalist Monday as well.
During Monday's meet at Pheasant Hills Golf Course in Hammond, teams were only able to complete the front nine before darkness fell on golfers.
Prescott won the meet with a team score of 173, eight strokes better than second-place New Richmond. Individual scores for the Cardinals were: Salay (37), Stutz (44), Rohl (45), Lindsay Olson (47) and Jessica Heinsch (51).
Ellsworth to reload, not rebuild
Tasked with getting past Prescott in the section and losing their lone state participant last year to graduation, Ellsworth head coach Carson Huppert sees this as a new opportunity. Rather than grooming young players for a future run, Huppert is hoping for improvements from last year’s returning players.
In particular, Huppert has his eye on how much Charlize Smith and Kayley Bayer can improve from a season ago to put Ellsworth in the hunt for a regional or section title.
With their first meet in the books as the Panthers traveled to Hammond on Monday, the team still has some ground to make up as they finished fifth out of eight teams and 43 strokes behind first-place Prescott.
Individually, the Panthers scored similarly throughout the lineup. Bayer and Taryn Baker both scored 54 while Smith and Hallie Flock had 55. Katie Gillespie rounded out the lineup with a 73.