HUDSON, Wis.-- When the Big Rivers Conference athletic directors voted to move ahead with a limited fall sports schedule this season, they decided to do so without recognizing conference champions or individual all-conference awards.
But why keep score if nobody wins? So the BRC girls’ golf coaches decided to “unofficially” track scores this season and recognize the players for their hard work and accomplishments. So when Hudson concluded an undefeated season by winning the fifth and final BRC meet of the season Monday, Sept. 28, at River Falls, the conference coaches recognized the Raiders as the “unofficial” 2020 BRC champions.
“I’m very proud of the accomplishments of our team this year,” Hudson coach Tom Holland said. “Our girls have worked hard in and out of season taking lessons, playing competitively and practicing in order to get to where they are today.”
The BRC fall seasons have moved ahead with every team except Eau Claire Memorial and Eau Claire North, due to various local and regional coronavirus restrictions. That left five teams each hosting a conference match with Hudson running the table to finish six points ahead of River Falls in the final conference standings.
Hudson’s latest victory came Monday at River Falls where all five Raiders finished in the top seven to combine for a team score of 179, 13 strokes ahead of the host Wildcats’ 192.
Senior Paige Hillman locked up “unofficial” Player of the Year honors with a first place score of 41 while Lauren Parker tied for second at 44. Maddy Berg added a score of 45 to tie River Falls’ Mahlia McCane for third place and Olivia Grothaus shot a 49 to finish in a three-way tie for sixth while Makayla Shilts tied for seventh with a 51.
In addition to McCane’s team-low score of 49, River Falls’ Jaden Woiwode finished all alone in fourth place with 46, Jenna Bergmanis tied Grothaus for sixth with a 49, and Mekinnah Xiong finished eighth with a 52.
Joining Hillman on the “unofficial” All-BRC First Team were Raider teammates Parker and Berg, while Shilts and Grothaus earned spots on the second team, despite Grothaus playing in two less varsity matches than the others.
River Falls was represented by Woiwode and Xiong on the first team and McCane on the second team.
Holland said when he took over as Hudson coach four years ago he told his players he was committed to helping them improve if they committed to putting the work in. He noted there were 12 players out for golf his first year while 24 came out for this year’s team. Four years ago the Raiders finished fourth in the conference, this year they took first. Four years ago one Raider individual qualified for sectionals and last year the Raiders qualified as a team. Last season one player-- Hilmann-- qualified for the state tournament, but Holland believes if the team plays like it is capable of the Raiders could qualify for state as a team this season.
“Both coaches and players have, over the past four years, planned, practiced, and prepared themselves to be winners,” Holland said. “What has been accomplished isn’t a ‘lucky break’ or some good fortune. It’s a result of dedication, hard work and commitment to a set of goals. This is the lesson of life-- work hard, commit to your goals and you will see results.
The Raiders will take their first step towards trying to qualify for state when they compete in the WIAA Division 1 regional Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the New Richmond Golf Club.