Middleton senior Kate Meier needed a hug Tuesday evening. Lots of them, actually.
The first came from her coach, Becky Halverson, just off the 18th green at University Ridge Golf Course. It was accompanied by tears of joy and giant smiles, and it seemed to last almost as long as Meier had waited for this day to arrive.
More hugs followed as Meier and the rest of what she has dubbed her “Middleton golf family” celebrated the team’s 13-stroke victory over runner-up Brookfield Central in the WIAA Division 1 state girls golf tournament.
“It means everything. All the hard work we all put in. … We’re very happy,” said Meier, who led the Cardinals with a 78 on Tuesday for a two-day total of 154, good for seventh place individually.
Also Tuesday, Madison Edgewood gave Dane County two state team champs for the first time since Verona and Edgewood doubled up in 2014. The Crusaders dominated to earn a Division 2 title repeat, shooting 355 to finish at 702, beating runner-up Prescott by 71 strokes and crowning their No. 1 player, senior Grace Welch, as the individual champ with a 158 total.
After the Cardinals broke away from a one-stroke Monday lead with a four-player round of 321 and a two-day total of 651, Meier wasn’t the only Middleton golfer who wanted something.
Junior Glenna Sanderson’s aching feet needed a little extra ice time. Battling a chronic foot problem that was diagnosed two years ago as bursitis, Sanderson bravely battled her way through back-to-back rounds, just a couple of weeks after she sat out the Big Eight Conference and WIAA regional meets because of the pain.
“And sectionals were debatable,” Sanderson said. “But state? No. No way. I wanted to play.”
Then there was senior Makenzie Hodson, who might have wanted some fresh out-of-the-dryer sweatpants after finishing Tuesday’s six-hour round in a golf skirt better suited for August than Tuesday’s temperatures, which only briefly reached 50.
The other members of the Cardinals’ brigade? They wanted a photo with Middleton’s first state championship trophy since 2015. And, of course, another hug.
“This team has been more together as a family than a lot of our previous teams. They do everything together,” Halverson said. “I’m so excited to see the two seniors on this team lead these underclassmen all through the year.”
Meier shot 3-over 39 on each side Tuesday, recording eight bogeys and birdies on Nos. 7 and 16.
“My goal was not to have any big numbers on the board, and I did that,” she said. “I hit some clutch shots on the back nine, some good shots.”
Another clutch player was Sanderson, Middleton’s No. 2 player. She played the front nine in even par and stayed even through 13, before finishing with three bogeys and a double bogey on the final five holes for a 77 and a two-day score of 156, good for ninth place.
Sanderson said she was diagnosed with bursitis in her freshman year, and doctors have tried various treatments that included cortisone injections in January.
“I’ve been struggling at times,” Sanderson said. “It swells, there’s pain — at one point I had discoloration on the bottom of both feet. It hurts, but it might be something I have to live with for good.
“Still, my love for golf is so strong, I wasn’t going to miss this.”
“There were plenty of tournaments where we’d immediately be getting her ice for her feet,” Meier said. “It’s impressive to see what she can endure.”
“She’s in a lot of pain, but she doesn’t necessarily want people to know because she doesn’t want to sit out,” Halverson said.
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Middleton also got a team-low 79 on Tuesday (and a 166 total) from sophomore Ellie Frisch, a 178 from Hodson and a 182 from sophomore Milanne Dahmen.
Waunakee also had a big day, besting its Monday score by 12 strokes with a 345 for a 702 total and a move up to fifth place. Junior Elena Maier, the Warriors’ No. 5 player, led the team with an 83 for a two-day total of 168. Junior Aly Kinzel shot a second consecutive 87 for a 174 total.
“Our team has really come around this year,” Kinzel said. “Our scores were definitely higher than usual, but everyone had to play in these conditions.”
Kinzel scored a birdie 4 on No. 16 — “a birdie on my last par-5 of junior year,” she said with a smile.
Stoughton senior Myranda Kotlowski also finished with a smile, shooting 77 for a two-day total of 153 that landed her in a tie for fifth place.
“I tried to be consistent, even though I couldn’t make a birdie putt until my next-to-last hole (the par-3 No. 8),” she said. “Overall, it was a big accomplishment.”
Janesville Craig’s Kallie Lux shot 79 to finish in 13th place at 161. Jo Baranczyk of Bay Port earned a repeat individual title, shooting 71 on Tuesday for a 149 total, one shot ahead of Brookfield Central’s Sarah Balding.
Welch had tied for third, taken fifth and taken third in her first three state tournaments. On Tuesday, she won it all, grinding out an 82 for a two-day total of 158, eight strokes better than runner-up Ava Salay of Prescott.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking — a little more today than yesterday,” Welch said. “After yesterday, I felt confident today. It was a great feeling.”
Her performance also allowed Welch and the Crusaders to live up to the initials marked on their hands in red Sharpie: B-T-B.
If Welch knows exactly what that stands for, she wasn’t saying.
“It means different things to different people. Be the Best, Back to Back, Be the Ball,” Welch said.
“You gotta have a theme, otherwise it’s all too serious,” said coach Peggy Gierhart, who led Edgewood to its 15th state championship — tying Madison West for the most in tournament history.
Gierhart didn’t have BTB written on her hand, because that would be silly. Instead, her hand said “D-T-J.”
“That means ‘Defend the Jungle,’” Gierhart said. “I gave this place (University Ridge) that name a couple years ago and it stuck.”
The Crusaders also got a 175 from junior Caitlin Hegenbarth, a 182 from senior Anaka Leske and a 187 from junior Grace Jaeger.
“These girls have experience on this course. We know the pitfalls and what to avoid,” Gierhart said. “And after we struggled a little at the start Monday, we put that to use.”
Lakeside Lutheran junior Maya Heckmann shot 86 to finish at 182, tied for 11th with Leske. Cambridge senior Mary Hommen, who shot a hole-in-one on Monday, shot 88 to finish at 191, two strokes ahead of Lakeside freshman Ava Heckmann.