Garske, Henry lead Lake Geneva Badgers to fourth straight state trip
Talented golfers Ryan Garske and Chad Henry have played key roles all season for the Badgers, who are making their fourth consecutive trip to University Ridge in Madison, the site of the 86th annual WIAA boys state tournament.
But now that the record has been set straight, Badger coach Dave DeShambo is challenging his other golfers to share the load as his team heads into the two-day Division 1 competition at 7 a.m.
“Our top two golfers have been good all year,” DeShambo said. “But we need a few more big shots out our 3, 4, and 5 players, which they are fully capable of doing.”
The rest of the Badger team, which consists of seniors Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz, Chris Georgalas and Michael Schlehlein, is looking for that one great round on the state’s biggest stage.
“Although we have the ability, we haven’t played with the consistency that we had the last couple years,” DeShambo said. “We need to be consistent in this tournament.”
Garske certainly has been consistent this season. The Badgers’ No. 1 player proved he can play with the state’s best when he won the prestigious Ashenfelter Invitationalat Janesville Riverside in May with a 2-under-par 70.
Garske’s fourth-place finish, along with Henry’s fifth-place effort in the Badger Sectional at Hawk’s View in Lake Geneva helped the Badgers win the team title.
“Obviously it was good to play that on our home course,” DeShambo said. “Ryan (Garske) and Chad (Henry) played well in that tournament, and I expect them to play well here (at University Ridge) as well.
“Ryan is making his fourth trip to University Ridge, and Henry is going for the third straight year. So they have plenty of experience.”
Garske and Henry definitely will have to be at their best to keep Badger afloat in another talented pool of teams.
Four-time defending champion Hartland Arrowhead again is a favorite to win the tournament, along with Kettle Moraine and Middleton.
“Those teams are all deep,” DeShambo said. “Whatever school has one or two guys that play really well is going to win.”
DeShambo expects his Badgers to finish somewhere in the next tier below the three favorites.
“If our top two guys fair well and our 3, 4, and 5 guys play up to their capability,” DeShambo said, “then we can finish in that second tier of teams below Arrowhead, Kettle Moraine and Middleton.