2012 Season Preview: New Richmond girls golf uses goal setting to stay on courseThe possibilities are boundless for the New Richmond girls golf team this season.
The possibilities are boundless for the New Richmond girls golf team this season.
But instead of looking at the big picture, the Tigers are focusing on daily improvement in their efforts to accomplish big things this season.
The Tigers won the Middle Border Conference title in 2011 and repeating as MBC champions is just part of the team’s aspirations for 2012.
Four of the five varsity players from last year’s MBC championship squad return. Seniors Leah Bauer and Rachel Ziller and junior Alex Wheeler have all been members of the Tiger varsity lineup since their freshman seasons. All three were part of the Tiger team that qualified for the WIAA State Championships two years ago and Wheeler advanced to state as an individual last year. Senior Jordan Peterson moved into the varsity lineup last season.
Wheeler and Bauer were first team All-MBC players last season and Ziller and Peterson were part of the All-MBC second team.
The new addition to the varsity five is junior Megan Chelberg, who has made an incredible advancement since last season. Chelberg played so well in the opening weeks of the season that she earned the number one spot in the varsity lineup for the first match this season.
Veteran Tiger coach Neal Ziller recognizes that he’s fortunate to have a team with such a high experience level. The girls are so in tune with their own skills and ambitions that the coaches can concentrate more on the planning aspects of the game.
“They have purpose when they practice,” Ziller said of his experienced players.
The Tigers spend time in meetings during most practices. Ziller said assistant coach Travis Gibson has instituted a program of realistic individual goals, which are updated and reviewed on an almost daily basis. The girls not only set goals, but they also write out the steps they will take to make those improvements.
Coach Ziller said the youth program at the New Richmond Golf Club has been a huge benefit for his program. He said the girls who take part in the high school program “walk in having a pretty good golf sense.” He said they are taught things like pre-shot routines and other advanced skills that many teams have to teach at the high school level.
The skill level runs deep through the Tiger program. The Tiger junior varsity team competed at season-opening meets at Barron and Ellsworth, where the JV would have finished second and third in the respective meets.
When the Tigers practice, there are often groupings with one varsity and one JV player combined with a couple younger players. This is done with a purpose. The coaches want the younger players to be able to observe how the experienced players handle themselves in different situations around the course, hoping they will emulate the older players.
With the focus on daily improvement, the season goals run more like an undercurrent through the team’s actions. The season goals are definitely still there. Coach Ziller has never had a team that has won a conference, regional and sectional title in the same season. He acknowledges that this could be the year that goal is reached.
“The potential of this team is one of the best I’ve seen in this area,” Ziller said.