NEW RICHMOND, Wis.-- New Richmond junior Lanie Veenendall shot a two-over-par 74 and four Tigers turned in six of the day’s lowest scores to lead New Richmond to the WIAA Division 2 regional championship on their home course Thursday, Oct. 1.

Veenendall beat Hudson’s Paige Hillman by seven strokes to earn medalist honors while teammate Sydney Nolan was fourth with a 90 and Tiger teammates Kailey Stevens and Abbie Ritzer tied for sixth with 92s.

New Richmond finished with a team score of 348 to claim the regional title and Hudson was second with 362 while River Falls was third with 380. All three advance to the Division 1 sectional tournament next week in Tomah along with fourth place Menomonie.

River Falls was led by senior Jaden Woiwode with a third place score of 86 while Mahlia McCane finished eighth with a 94. In addition to Hillman’s second place showing, Hudson had three other golfers in the top ten with Maddy Berg placing fifth with a 91 and teammates Makayla Shilts and Olivia Grothaus tying for ninth with 95s.

Jenna Bergmanis contributed an 11th place score of 97 to the Wildcats’ team total while Rachel Randleman finished 13th with a 103.

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The WIAA Division 1 sectional is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 5, at Hiawatha Golf Club in Tomah. The top two teams, and the top three individuals who are not members of qualifying teams, will advance to the WIAA State Tournament, which will be played Oct. 12-13 at the Meadow Valleys Golf Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.

Hudson senior Paige Hillman follows the flight of her tee shot on the par-3 17th hole at the  WIAA Division 1 girls’ golf regional at the New Richmond Golf Club Thursday, Oct. 1. Hillman turned in a second place score of 81 to help the Raiders to a second place team finish behind New Richmond. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia
Hudson senior Paige Hillman follows the flight of her tee shot on the par-3 17th hole at the WIAA Division 1 girls’ golf regional at the New Richmond Golf Club Thursday, Oct. 1. Hillman turned in a second place score of 81 to help the Raiders to a second place team finish behind New Richmond. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

Hudson girls claim ‘unofficial’ BRC golf title

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.

Hillman locked up “unofficial” Player of the Year honors with a first place score of 41 while Lauren Parker tied for second at 44. Berg added a score of 45 to tie River Falls’ McCane for third place and Grothaus shot a 49 to finish in a three-way tie for sixth while Shilts tied for seventh with a 51.

In addition to McCane’s team-low score of 49, River Falls’ Woiwode finished all alone in fourth place with 46, 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.