Stoughton senior Myranda Kotlowski and junior Caylie Kotlowski have more in common than just the same last name.
The two cousins have one singular goal to achieve in their last year of prep golf together: To make it to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament as teammates.
“I hope that we both get to state,” Caylie said. “I think that would be pretty awesome for two cousins to push each other and get there, together, on the same team.”
Caylie, the younger of the two, was Stoughton’s No. 1 player last season, earning her third letter and playing her way to a fourth-place finish in the WIAA state meet. She tacked on first-team All-Badger South and All-State honors.
Myranda didn't qualify as an individual for the state meet last year. But entering this season, she beat out her cousin for the No. 1 spot in Stoughton's lineup after a very strong summer.
Her motivation is obvious: “I want to get to state this year, too,” Myranda said.
The elder cousin is a three-time letterwinner who earned second-team all-conference honors last fall. Stoughton won the Badger South team championship last year, though the Vikings missed out on a state team berth — the other way Myranda could have played at state last fall.
Although third-year head coach Stephen Stokes says it will be a challenge for Stoughton to repeat as league champs, he points out that the Kotlowski cousins give the Vikings a chance to stay in the fight.
“We’ve got three new players on varsity, but those two cousins will keep us in any match we play,” Stokes said. “They’ve already shown that they can play with and hang with anybody.”
The Kotlowski cousins' rise in the world of Wisconsin high school golf didn’t come easily.
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Caylie, always been a superb athlete, did not even start playing golf until eighth grade. And Myranda came into high school shooting in the 100s. This past summer, she was regularly beating state qualifiers in PGA Juniors competitions.
This type of improvement doesn't just come naturally. Stokes couldn’t praise the two enough for their shared work ethic.
“I’ve coached football and golf for several years, and these two work as hard as any athlete I’ve ever coached. Myranda shot in the 100s her freshman year, 90s her sophomore year, 80s last year. She has continually gotten better, and both of them (Myranda and Caylie) are on the course all the time,” Stokes said.
“I coach the boys as well during the spring. We’d be out here (on the course) then, and Caylie would be practicing. We’d be at the Stoughton Country Club, and Myranda would be practicing. So it was clear they were ready to have a big year,” Stokes added.
As focused and determined as the Kotlowski cousins are, they always find the time to look out for their teammates, coach them and help make them better — even while trying to improve their respective games.
“Oh, they’re awesome. They’re awesome," Stokes said. "They are very supportive of the new girls, and they give pointers when they can, and act kind of like second coaches out there."
And as concrete as the personal goals are for the two girls, Coach Stokes said he'll hold them to those goals.
“I expect those two to compete all year, and compete with the best players all season long. Not only in the Badger South, but to compete for a conference championship, and to compete for both of them to go to state,” Stokes said.
If there was any need for added motivation, Myranda and Caylie bring it on themselves out on the course, with the competitive edge for the championship of the Kotlowski clan.
As Caylie said with a smile: “We like to beat each other, too.”