Wiegel, in his sixth year with the program and second as head coach, readily admits that this year’s extremely young and inexperienced squad is out to gain experience and confidence before worrying about scores and conference standings.
The Cougars graduated four letter winners from a team that finished fourth in the Big Eight Conference last season and return just four players who were even part of the program last year. The rest are freshmen or girls who didn’t play on the team last season.
Only sophomore Ashley Hermanns, who was the Cougars’ No. 5 golfer as a freshman, returns as a member of last year’s main rotation.
So you can see why Wiegel isn’t going to fret much over scores this season.
“This year, any scores in the 90s (for 18 holes) we can get will be great,” he said. “The main goal for this year is to just get them more swings and just gain some experience and just see some new courses.”
But while this season may be viewed as a learning experience, Wiegel—who graduated from Monroe High School in 2000 and UW-Stevens Point in 2004—is optimistic that he has a squad set up for future success. He bases that notion on a group of girls that not only possesses talent but also a willingness to learn.
“The best part about these girls is that they all get along great, and they’re up front and honest,” Wiegel said. “We can pick up where we left off next season.”
Hermanns, who averaged a 54.2 for nine holes last season, jumps from the No. 5 spot to No. 1. Wiegel said gaining consistency, especially with her approach shots, will be Hermanns’ main goal.
“She’s gained a lot of distance off the tee, so that helps her, and her putting (has) improved,” Wiegel said. “She’s also a girl that’s not afraid to play against the other team’s best.”
Wiegel said the rest of his top four will consist of junior Bailey Green and sophomores Laura Squire and Brianna Bouland. Freshmen Sarah Holford and Hayley Arneson will rotate at the fifth spot.
Because of a heavy early schedule and various late-summer activities that will force some girls to miss early meets, Wiegel expects that as many as seven of his golfers will earn their varsity letters by having their scores counted in at least one varsity meet as early as Thursday’s Milton Best-Ball Tournament.
It’s all part of the plan of Craig’s youth being served.
“Without having a senior on this team, we can kind of make this a two-year goal as a group,” Wiegel said.
AUGUST: 18—Madison La Follette, Sun Prairie (Riverside), 9 a.m. 19—Milton Best-Ball Tournament (Oak Ridge), 8:30 a.m. 23—Waunakee Invitaional, 8:30 a.m. 25—At Middleton, with Madison East (Pleasant View), 9 a.m. 30—At Verona, with Madison Memorial (Tumbledown), 9 a.m.
SEPTEMBER: 7—Janesville Parker, Beloit Memorial (Riverside), noon. 11—Middleton Invitational (Pleasant View), 11:30 a.m. 14—Madison West (Riverside), 1 p.m. 18—Parker Invitational (Riverside), 7:30 a.m. 23—Big Eight meet. at Evansville.