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Area girls golf outlook: Waunakee, Madison Edgewood hoping to emerge from the fall crop

Area girls golf outlook: Waunakee, Madison Edgewood hoping to emerge from the fall crop

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PLAYING IN FALL SEASON

(All play is non-conference only)

Badger North Conference: Baraboo, Beaver Dam, DeForest, Portage, Reedsburg, Waunakee.

Badger South: Fort Atkinson, Madison Edgewood, Watertown.

Big Eight: None.

Rock Valley: Lakeside Lutheran.

Southwest Wisconsin: None.

Trailways: None.

PLAYING IN ALTERNATIVE SPRING SEASON

Badger North: Mount Horeb.

Badger South: Milton, Monona Grove, Monroe, Oregon, Stoughton.

Big Eight: Beloit Memorial, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Madison East, Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Verona.

Capitol Conference: Columbus, Lodi, Poynette, Cambridge.

Rock Valley: Edgerton, Evansville, McFarland.

Southwest Wisconsin Conference: None.


PLAYERS TO WATCH (FALL)

Caitlyn Hegenbarth, sr., Madison Edgewood: Placed second at regionals, third at sectionals and earned second-team All-Badger South conference honors last season. Finished eighth at Division 2 state, shooting 87-88-175. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area first team in 2019.

Aly Kinzel, sr., Waunakee: Tied for seventh in the Badger North Conference meet, with her team taking home the conference championship. Tied for 32nd at state as an individual in 2019 87-87-174, as the Warriors placed fifth as a team. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area first team in 2019.

Maya Heckmann, sr., Lakeside Lutheran: Named Player of the Year in the Rock Valley Conference in 2018 and 2019, leading the Warriors to a conference tournament championship and placing second as an individual in 2019. Placed 11th as an individual at Division 2 state. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area second team in 2019.

Sophie Denure, jr., Portage: Three-year letter winner. Placed sixth at the Badger North Conference meet, leading her team to a third place finish. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention team in 2019.

Taryn Endres, jr., DeForest: Team MVP. Placed third at the Badger North Conference meet. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention team in 2019.

Sydney Grimm, sr., Waunakee: Placed second in the Badger North Conference meet. Followed that with a 10th-place finish at sectionals and tied for 39th at state. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention team in 2019.

Ava Heckmann, so., Lakeside Lutheran: Tied for 17th as an individual in WIAA Division 2. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention team in 2019.

Grace Jaeger, sr., Madison Edgewood: Second team all-Badger Conference in 2019. Placed third at state in 2018 and 15th in 2019. Was selected to the Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention team in 2019.

Allyssa Thao, jr., Madison Edgewood: Placed 17th at state and was a Wisconsin State Journal All-Area honorable mention pick in 2019.

Ashleigh Johnson, so., Reedsburg: Placed 12th at the Badger North Conference meet, and has the opportunity to be the Beavers’ first ever repeat all-conference honoree. Led Reedsburg to its first-ever WIAA sectional appearance.


FOUR THINGS TO WATCH

Careful about COVID-19: The season will see many unusual developments based on fighting the spread of COVID-19, instituted by school administrators under local and county health guidelines. For instance, DeForest and Waunakee are allowed to play only inside Dane County. Also, No. 1 players from different schools aren’t grouped together, as usual; instead, players from the same team form threesomes, foursomes and even fivesomes. There are many additional rules regarding player contact, equipment usage and social distancing/mask usage.

Taking a break: Defending WIAA Division 2 state champion Madison Edgewood will chase another title with longtime coach Peggy Gierhart on the sideline. Due to COVID-19, she will not coach the team this fall, instead taking on the role of “general manager.” Serving as interim coaches will be Mary Welch and Jane Welch, older sisters of 2020 Edgewood graduate Grace Welch, now playing at UW-Green Bay.

Waunakee reloads: The Warriors, coming off their fourth straight Badger North Conference championship and fifth-place showing at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament in 2019, return three of their top five golfers and are ranked in the top five in Division 1. One of the three returnees is Sydney Grimm, the medalist at last year’s Badger North Conference meet and, along with teammate Aly Kinzel, a Wisconsin State Journal All-Area player last year.

Sister duo: At Portage, Sophie and Ella Denure will take to the course this season, after the pair placed in the top 10 at the Badger North Conference meet in 2019. Sophie is a senior and Ella is a sophomore.


FALL TEAM CAPSULES

Baraboo Thunderbirds

Coach: Landon Brownell, fifth season.

Last year’s team results: Fourth in Badger Conference tournament; eighth in sectional

Last year’s top individual results: Carly Moon, first in Badger Conference tournament, 12th in WIAA sectional.

Varsity returnees: Caroline Lewison, jr.; Sadie Schlender, jr.; Meg Turkington, jr.; Kayla Capener, so.

Key fact: This will be the first time in four years the Thunderbirds aren’t led by Carly Moon. Baraboo also lost Adele Griffin to graduation.

Notable: Caroline Lewison is the top returnee this year, after taking 19th in the Badger North meet in 2019. She led the Thunderbirds to a dual win over Lakeside Lutheran on Sept. 2.

Quotable: “Off the tee is something we’re going to have to work on with a few of our girls,” assistant coach Josh Porter told the Baraboo News Republic, “(and) just the approach shots into the green.”


Beaver Dam Golden Beavers

Coach: Tim Chase, seventh season.

Last year’s team results: Seventh in Badger Conference tournament.

Last year’s top individual results: Bree DiStefano, 30th in Badger Conference tournament.

Varsity returnees: Paige Yagodinski, sr.; Bri DiStefano, jr.; Ellen Poels, so.; Bella Oestreicher, so.

Key fact: Last year, the Golden Beavers had zero players with any varsity experience. Returning this year are four players who spent time on the 2019 varsity.

Notable: This is the second year of Beaver Dam’s golf co-op with Beaver Dam Wayland. DiStefano is this team’s top returnee, after having played her first year of competitive golf in 2019.

Quotable: “A lot of these kids are multi-sport athletes,” Chase told the Daily Dodge radio station website. “They’re athletic, which is good. They do hit some pretty good shots. For them it’s (about) getting a little more consistent and getting more used to the game to take that next step.”


DeForest Norskies

Coach: Scott Siemion, 35th season.

Last year’s team results: Fifth in Badger North Conference tournament.

Last year’s top individual results: Taryn Endres, third in Badger Conference tournament.

Varsity returnees: Lexi Scheuerell, sr.; Tori Schnell, sr.; Kaylin Nesbitt, sr.; Taryn Endres, jr.

Newcomers to watch: Sam Mau, so.

Key fact: The Norskies have qualified for WIAA Division I sectionals three of the last four years.

Notable: This is just the fifth year of existence for the DeForest girls golf program. The three seniors listed all are four-year players. Taryn Endres was last year’s most valuable player.

Quotable: “DeForest will be much improved this season,” Siemion said. “Our four returning starters have worked extremely hard in the off-season on ball striking and short game. … We believe this group may be our most successful when the season is completed.”


Portage Warriors

Coach: Ed Carlson, 14th season.

Last year’s team results: Third in Badger Conference tournament; fifth in WIAA regional.

Last year’s top individual results: Sophie Denure, sixth in Badger Conference tournament and eighth in regional.

Varsity returnees: Sophie Denure, sr.; Maddie Mumm, sr.; Elizabeth Fick, jr.; Ella Denure, so.

Key fact: Sophie Denure is a senior captain, three-year letter winner and a Wisconsin State Journal honorable mention all-area pick in 2019.

Notable: Mumm returns after not competing in 2019. She lettered in 2018.

Quotable: “It’s hard to predict what the season will bring us, but we can already see growth from last season,” Carlson said. “It will be fun to watch how this group continues to develop and improve.”


Reedsburg Beavers

Coach: Jesse Monte, eighth season.

Last year’s team results: Second in Badger Conference tournament and fifth in sectional.

Last year’s top individual results: Kaitlyn Brunken, fourth in Badger Conference tournament; Anna Krieski, tied for 16th in sectional.

Varsity returnees: Ashleigh Johnson, so.; Grace Benish, jr.; Kelcey Clark, sr.

Newcomers to watch: Elizabeth Carey, so.; Lily McPherson, so.; Sienna Gronley so.; Madison Monte, so.

Key fact: Johnson will be vying for all-conference honors once again this season. She could become the first player in Reedsburg history to repeat.

Notable: The Beavers made sectionals as a team for the first time in program history in 2019.

Quotable: “This would normally be a rebuilding year, but the girls have put in so much time this summer,” Monte said. “I’m excited to see who steps up and how this season plays out.”


Waunakee Warriors

Coach: Paul Miller, 18th season.

Last year’s team results: First in Badger Conference tournament; 5th in the state.

Last year’s top individual results: Sydney Grimm, second in Badger Conference tournament; Elena Maier, tied for 22nd at state.

Varsity returnees: Sydney Grimm, sr.; Aly Kinzel, sr.; Natalie Hoege, sr.

Newcomers to watch: Jordan Shipshock, fr.; Izzi Strickier, fr.

Key fact: Senior Elena Maier, who was the team’s top top finisher at state, suffered an injury in AAU basketball and will miss the entire season.

Notable: Waunakee has won four straight Badger North team titles. The Warriors went 6-0 in dual play last year. Senior Aly Kinzel is coming off a Wisconsin State Journal all-area first team season in 2019. She tied for seventh in the Badger North meet last season.

Quotable: “This team has a really good balance of experienced leaders, strong players and up-and-coming talent throughout each grade level,” Miller said.


Fort Atkinson Blackhawks

Coach: Joe Leibman, second season.

Last year’s team results: Sixth in Badger Conference tournament; eighth in sectional.

Last year’s top individual results: Natalie Kammer, tied for 13th in Badger South Conference tournament, tied for 20th in sectional.

Varsity returnees: Brooke Leibman, sr.; Taylor Dressler, sr.; Natalie Kammer, jr.; Rachel Edwards, so.

Key fact: Junior Natalie Kammer is looking forward to a big finish to the season after spending the summer playing in various state juniors events.

Notable: The Blackhawks advanced through regionals last year after going 0-5-1 in league dual matches. Top contenders are Kammer, Dressler, Leibman and Edwards.

Quotable: “We have 80 percent of our starting lineup back and we want to use our experience as a strength,” Leibman told the Daily Jefferson County Union.


Madison Edgewood Crusaders

Interim coaches: Jane Welch and Mary Welch, first season (filling in for Peggy Gierhart, who is serving as team “general manager” this year due to COVID-19 concerns).

Last year’s team results: First in Badger Conference tournament; first in WIAA Division 2 state meet.

Last year’s top individual results: Grace Welch, third in Badger Conference tournament, first at state.

Varsity returnees: Caitlyn Hegenbarth, sr.; Grace Jaeger, sr.; Alyssa Thao, so.

Newcomers to watch: Jacklyn Thao, fr.

Key fact: While the Crusaders lose their top player from last year in Grace Welch, they bring back three of their top five players.

Notable: Edgewood has won back-to-back WIAA Division 2 State championships.

Quotable: “The girls are dedicated to improving and working hard to carry out valued traditions and success that they have seen in teams before them,” coaches Jane Welch and Mary Welch said. “Experience will be a priority.”


Watertown Goslings

Coach: Mike Wietor, fifth season.

Last year’s team results: Fourth in Badger Conference tournament; eighth in Brookfield Central sectional.

Last year’s top individual results: Andrea Tietz, 10th in Badger South tournament and 30th in sectional.

Varsity returnees: Samantah Suski, sr.; Savannah Szalanski, jr.; Riley Lang; sr. Miah Nelson; jr.

Key fact: Samantha Suski was the Goslings’ No. 3 player last year, but will be looked to fill the No. 1 role this fall.

Notable: Watertown went 3-3 in dual meets last season.


Lakeside Lutheran Warriors

Coach: Kyra Lostetter, sixth season.

Last year’s team results: Second in Rock Valley Conference tournament; third in sectional.

Last year’s top individual results: Maya Heckmann second in Badger Conference tournament; Maya Heckmann T-11th in state.

Varsity returnees: Maya Heckmann, sr.; Grace Thomas, sr.; Kaylea Affeld, jr.; Lauren Lostetter, jr.; Ava Heckmann, so.

Key fact: Ava Heckmann, Maya’s younger sister, placed 17th at state last season.

Notable: This is the largest team the Warriors have ever had, with 25 girls on the roster.

Quotable: “We have the most talent Lakeside has ever had as a full varsity team,” Lostetter said. “I expect girls to have great scores individually and as a team.”

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