HAMMOND, Wis. -- Two matches into the Middle Border Conference girls’ golf season, the defending conference champion Prescott Cardinals sit atop the league standings with New Richmond and St. Croix Central hot on their heels.

Prescott took first at Pheasant Hills in Hammond Monday, Aug. 24, by eight strokes over New Richmond before the Tigers narrowed the gap to three strokes Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Amery. St. Croix Central placed third in both matches.

Prescott’s Ava Salay and St. Croix Central’s Sally Vangsness tied for medalist honors Monday at Pheasant Hills with 9-hole scores of 37 each while Tiger teammates Lannie Veenendall and Abbie Ritzer tied for third with identical 43s.

Prescott won with a team score of 173 while New Richmond was second with 181 and St. Croix Central third with 189.

The Cardinals shot a 182 Wednesday at Amery, just three strokes better than New Richmond’s 185, while Central placed third with 190.

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Salay again led the field with an even-par 36 and Veenendall was second with 40 while Sydney Nolan of New Richmond placed third with 42, Vangsness was fourth with 43 and Panther teammate Jenna Wehausen took fifth with 44.

Central leaning on consistency

St. Croix Central coach Logan Kimberly said he was pleased with the consistency of the Panthers’ scores, particularly in the MBC season opener last Monday on their home course of Pheasant Hills.

“It really shows what great depth we have as a team when our number two through five all shot within two strokes of each other,” he said, pointing to Gil Holme, Wehausen, Sydney Burgess and Sarah McHenry all shooting between 50 and 52.

But Kimberly was even more impressed with Vangsness tying Salay for medalist honors.

“I could tell there was just something very business-like in her attitude and that she was ready to go,” Kimberly said. “She's our leader and sets a great example for others to follow by the high standards she holds herself to.”

Kimberly called Wednesday’s match at Amery an “eye-opening experience and grind-it-out type of round” for the Panthers.

“None of our girls started out great on the first hole,” he said, noting everyone had a double bogey or higher. “But they all bounced back and had really nice rounds afterwards, which is really what golf is all about-- battling adversity.”

Wehausen cut seven strokes off her score from two days earlier on an Amery course that Kimberly described as considerably more challenging than Pheasant Hills.

“She's a senior, and I really think she was able to lean on some of her experience from previous years throughout this round,” the coach said.

McHenry, meanwhile, bounced back from a 14 on the opening hole to finish with a 53.

“So after being 10 over on the first hole, she went on to only be eight over on the next eight holes combined. I can't tell you how difficult that is and how much grit and determination that shows,” Kimberly said. “It's really only a matter of time before all of our girls put together a round and really show the potential of how low our team score can be.”

Somerset looking to move up

After finishing sixth Monday at Pheasant Hills a score of 219, Somerset shaved off 18 strokes Wednesday at Amery to place fourth with a 201, led by Ava Pesha’s sixth place score of 45. Teammate Isa Fagan also finished in the top ten with a ninth place score of 49. Briley Olson shot 52 and Serenity Slayton 55 to round out the team total.

“I'm pleased with the overall effort,” Spartan coach Dennis Potter said. “Instead of relying on one of our golfers for a good score, we had a steady contribution from everyone on the team. Two of our players scored in the 40s, and two in the low 50s. Isa Fagan had a very strong outing, including birdying a hole. We are going to need her if we are going to try to stay in the top four in the conference.”

Pesha tied for fifth Monday at Amery with a round of 44.

Hudson, River Falls shine at Rice Lake Invite

Hudson’s Paige Hillman, Lauren Parker and Maddy Berg swept the top three individual spots to lead the Raiders to the team title and River Falls finished second at the five-team Rice Lake Invitational Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Turtleback Golf Course. It was the season opener for both the Raiders and the Wildcats.

Hillman ran away with medalist honors with an 18-hole score of 81 while teammates Parker and Berg tied for second with 93. Mekenna Xiong of River Falls was fourth with 94.

Hudson won the team title with a total score of 367 while River Falls was second with 413. Host Rice Lake was third with 431 and Menomonie placed fourth with 486 while Chippewa Falls finished fifth with 493.

Olivia Grothaus shot an even 100 to round out Hudson’s team total while the remaining River Falls scores came from Mahlia McCane with 102, Jenna Bergmanis with 107 and Rachel Randleman with 110.