WIAA State Girls' Golf Championships Preview

The 46th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Girls State Golf Championships will be held Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 9-10, at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis. Competition will begin at 8 a.m. on both days. Sunday practice tee time assignments are available on the girls golf homepage of the WIAA website.

THE FORMAT: The competition features a two division format with 12 teams and an additional 18 individual qualifiers competing in Division 1, and six teams and an additional nine individual qualifiers participating in Division 2. Competitors play 36 holes, weather permitting, including 18 holes on each day. The lowest scores from the first day will have the later tee times Tuesday.

TEAMS COMPETING:  The schools qualifying for the State meet in Division 1 are Arrowhead, Bay Port, Brookfield Central, Eau Claire Memorial, Franklin, Green Bay Preble/East/Southwest/West, Kaukauna, Kettle Moraine, Middleton, Milton, Onalaska and Verona. The team qualifiers in Division 2 are Aquinas, Catholic Memorial, Edgewood, Fox Valley Lutheran, Somerset and Stanley-Boyd.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED: The Division 1 field consists of the top two teams from each of the six sectionals, and the Division 2 field includes the top two teams from three sectionals. Eighteen individuals in Division 1 and nine individuals in Division 2 qualify as the top three players in each sectional that are not members of a qualifying team.

DIVISION 1 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS: The 18 individuals who have qualified for the State meet in Division 1 are sophomore Holly Murphy of Badger, senior Lorenza Martinez of Divine Savior Holy Angels, junior Kirsten Leonardi of Hamilton, seniors Speedy Kent and Isabelle Maleki of Homestead, junior Sophia Dooman of Janesville Parker, junior Lillian Knetter of Madison West, junior Cosette Shefelker of Menomonee Falls, junior Klairissa O’Reilly-Dye of Monona Grove, senior Andrea Groendal of New Berlin Eisenhower/West, senior Emily Conard of Notre Dame, senior Brianna Zook of Shawano, senior Ginny Yahnke of Sparta, senior Molly Larsen of Tomah, junior Aubrie Torhorst of Waterford, junior Sam Soulier of Waunakee, senior Markie Ash of Waupaca, and senior Brooke Knutson of Westby/Viroqua.

DIVISION 2 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS: The nine individual qualifiers in Division 2 are sophomore Abby DeMoe of Colfax, junior Erica Feuerhelm of Ellsworth, junior Emily Neff of Hayward, senior Alexa Owen of Jefferson, senior Grace Eide of Osseo-Fairchild, junior Katie Gerschke of St. Thomas More, senior Kate Munro of The Prairie School, junior Allison Anderson of Wisconsin Dells and freshman Lauren Haen of Xavier.

LAST YEAR: Arrowhead captured the Division 1 State team title with a 36-hole score of 624 after finishing runner-up the previous two seasons. Middleton was runner-up at 675 after winning the crown in 2015. Emily Lauterbach of Arrowhead was the individual medalist with a score of 142. Alexis Thomas of Middleton finished second with a 147. The Prairie School won the Division 2 team title for the second consecutive year, finishing with a score of 687. Spooner placed second, 50 strokes back of the leader with a score of 737. Sarah Busey of Racine St. Catherine’s won individual medalist honors by shooting a 151. Lori Meyer of Freedom placed second with a 155.

INDIVIDUAL PREVIEW-DIVISION 1: Junior Emily Lauterbach of Arrowhead returns in pursuit of her second straight individual championship. Senior Speedy Kent of Homestead placed in a tie for sixth place last season after finishing seventh in 2015 and eighth in 2014. She should again be among the challengers for the title this year. In addition, senior Lorenza Martinez of Divine Savior Holy Angels returns to State after finishing in a tie for fourth place a year ago. Senior Abby Cavaiani of Kettle Moraine also returns to the tournament after tying Kent for sixth last season. Kent’s teammate at Homestead, senior Isabelle Maleki, also returns following an eighth-place finish last year. Among the sectional champions competing to be in the mix for medalist honors are senior Courtney Matschke of Franklin, junior Lexi Meade of Eau Claire Memorial, freshman Jo Baranczyk of Bay Port, and senior Lauren Shorter of Verona.

INDIVIDUAL PREVIEW-DIVISION 2:  Three of the top 10 finishers from a year ago return to contend for the individual championship. Sophomore Grace Welch of Edgewood is the top returning qualifier after placing third as a freshman last season. Junior Annie Balduzzi of Aquinas should make another run at the title after finishing fourth last year and 13th in 2015. Senior Erika Priebe of Fox Valley Lutheran tied for ninth last year after tying for 16th in 2015 and 14th in 2014. She won the Catholic Memorial Sectional title and should be considered a contender for medalist honors. Another sectional champion that may contend for the individual crown is sophomore Haley Meyers of Somerset.

THROUGH THE YEARS: In the first 45 years of the girls golf championships, Edgewood has won the most team championships with 13, all coming since 2001. The Crusaders won two championships when only one division was offered in 2001-02 and the first seven Division 2 titles from 2003-09. They have added to the total with championships from 2011-14. Madison West and La Crosse Central are tied for the second-most team titles with five. The Regents won the first five championships offered from 1972-76. The Red Raiders won four consecutive State titles from 1990-93 and added their fifth in 1998. Homestead and Appleton West have won four team championships. Osceola has crowned the most individual medalists with eight and Madison Memorial is next in line with six individual champions.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?: Rosters and qualifiers are available on the girls golf homepage of the WIAA website at: http://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/GirlsGolf.aspx.

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