Parker girls golfers win sectional title
JANESVILLE—Standing in the trees on No. 18 at Riverside Golf Course, Taylor Wyss had no way of knowing that Janesville Parker’s state hopes hinged on her making par.
The Vikings senior landed her approach on the green, then two-putted for par to help the team break its program scoring record.
About half an hour later, knowing her Vikings were headed to state, senior Micayla Richards was back in full golf mode and knew full well what her 20-foot birdie putt could mean.
Richards drained it to lead Parker to a one-hole playoff victory over Mukwonago and the title at the Janesville Craig Sectional. It capped a dream day for the Vikings, who will play at University Ridge on Monday and Tuesday in the WIAA Division 1 Girls State Golf Championship.
“We’re going to state; oh my gosh,” Richards said. “I played in the zone today, but I just really, really wanted this from day one this year.
“We’ve worked so hard, and our coaches pushed us so hard. Hard work pays off.”
Richards shot a 7-over 79 to lead the Vikings, while Wyss’ par on 18 gave her an 80. Junior Kailey McDade shot a career-best 82, and senior Lindsey Ahrens’ used a 43 on the front nine to shoot 92. Freshman Keara Richards, who shot 101, will round out the team at state.
“We’ve accomplished our goal and it’s just the greatest feeling in the world,” Ahrens said. “This team is like my family.”
The 333 team score broke the program record for the third time this season and tied Mukwonago, leading to the playoff. Both teams advanced to state by beating Milton by a single stroke.
Red Hawks junior Maddie McCue, who won the women’s Rock County title this summer at Riverside, shot 75 to earn top medalist and advance to state as an individual. Sophomore CheyAnn Knudsen fired a career-best 80 to also advance as an individual.
“I was very excited because walking off 18, I thought we had it,” McCue said. “When we found out we lost by one, everyone thought about that one stroke (that would’ve made the difference).”
The Vikings are headed to state for just the second time in program history and the first time since 2009.
“I just told them that they’re the best team ever and that I loved them,” a teary-eyed Parker coach Mary Ross said. “Those were two clutch shots by our captains. You tell them over and over how much every shot counts, and they came through in the end.
“It just doesn’t get any better.”
Wyss’ par on 18 closed out a team-best 39 on the back nine.
After qualifying for state as an individual last year, she’ll get to experience University Ridge with her teammates.
“I’m in the trees, and I’m thinking of whether I should go over the trees or punch out,” Wyss said of her approach on the final hole. “I was like, ‘This is my last hole, we’ve got to go out big.’
“We’ve thought about this for over a year now. It’s been our dream.”
The Vikings simply hoped to finish in the top two to advance to state, but once they realized they’d play off for the sectional title, the goal changed.
“We already knew we were going to state, but we wanted to win on our home course,” Richards said. “It was awesome.”
She had the lone birdie on the playoff hole, No. 1, as Mukwonago saw a birdie putt lip out. McDade and Ahrens both got up and down for par thanks to clutch chip shots, and Wyss’ bogey was good enough to close out the sectional title.
“The emotions of it, I’m spent, but I’m just so thrilled,” Ross said. “To tie for the win, and to win by one stroke over the third-place team and then go to the playoff.
“It’s a storybook ending to an awesome year.”
And it’s not over yet.