Milton prevails to earn regional title in wet, windy conditions
ELKHORN Putts weren't the only things falling in the Elkhorn Regional at Evergreen Golf Club on Thursday.
Some girls golfers also fell during the late afternoon.
After everybody had picked themselves up and dried off, Milton High, Janesville Parker, Lake Geneva Badger and Janesville Craig all advanced teams to next week's WIAA Divison 1 sectional competition.
The top four teams advanced, although coaches and participants will say it was more like survival in conditions that included cold rain early and those blow-over gales late.
"I swear there were 50- to 60-mph wind gusts," said Milton coach Andrea Wieland. "Girls were falling over. They couldn't even stand up. It was kind of comical. They were laughing about it."
The Red Hawks could afford to grin and bear it after earning the regional championship with a 368. Twin sisters Stephanie Stair and Laura Stair finished 1-2 overall with scores of 84 and 87, respectively.
"They played really well, especially in the back nine in those conditions," Wieland said of the juniors. "It was
Wieland, who was a member of the University of Wisconsin women's golf team, said the Badgers once played in a blizzard during a meet that was eventually snowed out.
"But these were definitely the worst conditions a team of mine has ever played in," she said. "It was just a mentally draining day."
It was the first step for the Red Hawks' bid for a return trip to the state tournament, where they finished second to state champion Waunakee last year.
Big Eight Conference champion Parker was second with 384, 16 strokes behind the Red Hawks.
"Put it this way. We fared well in less-than-desirable conditions," Parker coach Mary Ross said. "We survived the elements. That is what it came down to."
Sophomore Lindsey Ahrens was the top Viking with an 89. The sophomore benefited by finishing before the strong winds hit.
"Lindsey played solid golf," Ross said. "She was very steady."
Parker senior Taylor Utzig did not miss the strong winds.
"It was like hitting into a wall," Ross said about Utzig's final four holes.
Utzig had a 43 in the cold rain on her front nine, but took 24 strokes to finish her final four holes played in the gusts.
Fortunately for the Craig golfers, the "bad stuff" didn't hit until they had completed their rounds.
The Cougars shot 433 to complete the four sectional team qualifiers. Junior Ashley Hermanns led the Cougars with a 99.
Craig coach Dominic Wiegel said the critical round came from senior Bailey Green. The No. 3 golfer carded a 105.
"The girls she was playing with really struggled," Wiegel said. "She was able to stay focused the entire time. Her score really, really helped."
The four teams, plus individual qualifiers Abby Knutson and Mara Simonson of Fort Atkinson High, Eddie Samson of Beloit Memorial and Hannah Grobelny of Elkhorn, advance to Tuesday's Waukesha South/North/West Sectional tournament at Naga-Waukee War Memorial Golf Course in Pewaukee.
Parker will practice at the course this weekend, Ross said.
"They won't face conditions like this again," she said.
"The forecast is 77 and sunny for Tuesday," Wieland said. "I hope the forecasters are right."
The sectional's top two teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the Oct. 10-11 state tournament at University Ridge in Madison.
At Evergreen (Par 72)
Milton 368, Janesville Parker 384, Lake Geneva Badger 419, Janesville Craig 433, Elkhorn 437, Fort Atkinson 440, Beloit Memorial 473.
Stephanie Stair (Milton), 84; Laura Stair (Milton), 87; Annie Gaugert (Badger), 88; Lindsey Ahrens (Parker), 89; Maddie McCue (Milton), 90; Taylor Utzig (Parker), 94.
Milton (368)—Stephanie Stair, 44-40—84; Laura Stair, 46-41—87; Maddie McCue, 45-45—90; Sarah Dorr, 52-55—107.
Parker (384)—Taylor Utzig, 43-51—94; Micayla Richards, 51-51—102; Taylor Wyss, 49-50—99; Lindsey Ahrens, 46-43—89.
Badger (419)—Annie Gaugert, 45-43—88; Lana Wieseman, 53-55—108; Kate Russell, 53-54—107; Krysal Cooke, 59-57—116.
Craig (433)—Ashley Hermanns, 52-47—99; Hayley Arneson, 61-54—115; Bailey Green, 52-53—105; Laura Squire, 59-55—114.
Elkhorn (437)—Maggie Luchsinger, 59-56—115; Emily Grobelny, 55-58—113; Hannah Grobelny, 53-51—104; Kayla Brellenthin, 57-48—105.
Fort Atkinson (440)—Mara Simonson, 50-48—98; Abby Knutson, 52-45—97; Erin Erickson, 59-68—127; Dani Meyer, 60-58—118.
Beloit (473)—Eddie Samson, 53-51—104; Bri Collins, 55-52—107; Brittany Mutchler, 68-64—132; Rebecca Shim, 59-71—130.
-- Milton, Janesville Parker, Lake Geneva Badger, Janesville Craig, Fort Atkinson's Abby Knutson and Mara Simonson, Beloit Memorial's Eddie Samson and Elkhorn's Hannah Grobelny advance to the Waukesha Sectional on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Naga-Waukee.