New Richmond sophomore Alex Wheeler qualifies for state golf meetThe New Richmond girls team missed a return trip to the WIAA Division 1 state golf championships by four strokes, but Tiger sophomore Alex Wheeler has earned a trip to the state meet.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The New Richmond girls team missed a return trip to the WIAA Division 1 state golf championships by four strokes, but Tiger sophomore Alex Wheeler has earned a trip to the state meet.
The Tigers took third place in the WIAA Division 1 La Crosse Central/Logan sectional meet last Wednesday. The top two teams qualify for state and the Tigers finished four strokes behind Tomah for the second spot.
The top three scores at the sectional level who aren’t part of the state qualifying teams advance to state as individuals. Wheeler tied for third place with her score of 89. She then won a playoff to earn her ticket into the state meet.
The Tigers finished the sectional meet with a team score of 373. Wheeler led the team by shooting an 89. Junior Leah Bauer also made a strong run at qualifying for state by shooting a 91. Rachael Ziller shot a 96, Jordan Peterson a 97 and Hannah Wheeler a 98 as the other Tigers playing in the sectional meet.
Alex Wheeler overcame a difficult start at the sectional meet. She took a nine on her first hole, the highest score among the 48 girls in the tournament. Over her next 18 holes, including the playoff hole, Wheeler was poised and polished. She finished with a 48 on the front nine. She caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 41. That tied for the second best score on the back nine among the 48 competitors.
In the one-hole playoff, Wheeler hit a towering drive that set her up well. She finished with a five on the first playoff hole, while Onalaska’s Andrea Jorgenson shot a six.
Tiger coach Neal Ziller said he expects Wheeler to shine in the state tournament, which was played this Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison. Wheeler had the lowest score for the Tigers at the state tournament last year when she shot a 185 for the two rounds. Ziller said she’s fully capable of playing that well again this year.
“If she can shoot in the low 80s, she’ll turn some heads,” Ziller said.
Wheeler and Bauer had strong days at the sectional meet, but the other Tigers weren’t quite able to come through with their best rounds as the Tigers hoped to repeat as state team qualifiers.
“Last year we played better than average,” Ziller said about the sectional pressure. “We’ll take some lessons from this sectional. It was a bitter pill.”
Next year the Tigers will return three players with state tournament experience in Alex Wheeler, Bauer and Ziller. Peterson was the Tigers’ alternate at state last year, so she also has experienced the pressure that goes along with playing at state.