New Richmond girls golf focus? Return trip to state meetThe 2010 season ended with the New Richmond girls golf team playing in the WIAA state championships.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The 2010 season ended with the New Richmond girls golf team playing in the WIAA state championships.
The Tigers fully expect to make the state tournament their final destination again in 2011.
A year ago the Tigers became the first New Richmond varsity team to qualify for a state tournament in Division 1 since the district’s growth began bumping Tiger sports into the WIAA’s top division. The Tigers placed 12th in the Division 1 state tournament. Four of the five girls from the state touranament team are back this season and Tiger coach Neal Ziller said all four of them have come back better this season.
“Without a doubt,” Ziller said of the team’s improvement.
Keeping the focus on individual improvement the past two seasons has led to steady progress throughout the team and Ziller plans to continue having individual improvement be the focus for the team.
“If we’re constantly moving toward improvement, I’m hoping the girls won’t get complacent,” Ziller said. “If the girls do what they’re supposed to do, I think we can repeat our state appearance.”
The Tigers were Middle Border Conference champions last season and the four returning varsity players all ranked among the top seven players in the conference last season. Those returnees are senior Hannah Wheeler, juniors Leah Bauer and Rachael Ziller and sophomore Alex Wheeler.
All four of the returnees are big hitters who also skilled putters. Coach Ziller credited Alex Wheeler for playing in a number of tournaments over the summer to improve her ability to perform in tense situations. He said that has earned her the number one spot in the varsity lineup to start the season.
“Alex is hitting huge drives. She’s worked at her game intensely,” he said.
Coach Ziller said the girls are conceding the fact that Osceola’s Casey Danielson will likely be the top player in the conference again this year. Ziller has set a goal for the team to earn the next five spots on the all-conference team behind Danielson.
You can’t blame the Tigers for conceding to Danielson. The defending state champ just made the top eight in the 111th U.S. Women’s Amateur National Championships and was featured on Golf Channel.
To reach the final eight, Danielson beat Duke University All-American Lindy Duncan in sudden death.
The best competition for the Tigers may come from within the team. There is an intense battle for the fifth spot in the varsity lineup. Senior Patty Nelson, juniors Jordan Peterson and Abbie Vizenor and sophomore Megan Chelberg are closely packed in that competition.
Peterson was the Tigers’ alternate at the state tournament last year, so the team has five girls who’ve experienced the state tournament atmosphere.
Several new additions to the team are making the future look bright for the Tigers. Freshmen Sarah Ziller and Hannah Baker and junior Mikayla Wickham are among those battling for spots in the junior varsity lineup. Sophomores Molly O’Brien and Carly Ferguson are golf novices, but their rapid progress is reason to believe they will compete for varsity spots in future seasons.