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Spartans enjoy the state golf experience

The Somerset girls golf team is shown at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison for the 2017 WIAA Division 2 Girls Golf Championships. Team members (l-r) are Emma Westmoreland, Grace Bauer, Megan Erlitz, Haley Myers and Cora Atkins. Submitted photo

The chance to be the first Somerset High School golf team to compete at the WIAA state championships will be a distinction forever held by the 2017 Spartan girls team.

The Spartans may be the most unlikely team to reach the state tournament, after finishing in seventh place in the Middle Border Conference. The Spartans caught fire at the end of the season, and they ended up being the only team from the MBC to qualify for the state tournament.

If you were caught by surprise by the Spartans' late success, you weren't alone.

"It wasn't even on our radar," Somerset coach Kristin Flater admitted. "When we won the regional, we had to reevaluate."

The Spartans shot 384 to take second place at the Division 2 sectional meet and their ticket was punched to enter last week's WIAA state championships.

At the state tournament, the Spartans ranked sixth among the Division 2 teams, with a two-day total of 863 at University Ridge Golf Club in Madison.

"It was a great experience. It was an elevated level of competition. We saw really great golf being played," Flater said.

University Ridge is an incredibly challenging course, especially for high school players. In Division 2, there wasn't a single girl who shot below 80 in either day of the tournament. Flater said the narrow fairways on the course caused endless problems for all the girls in the tournament.

"If you don't hit the narrow fairways you might as well hit a second shot and take the penalty," Flater said.

Sophomore Haley Myers was Somerset's top finisher. She was in tenth place after the first day when she shot a 90. She also broke the head on the club she uses for driving, her three wood. A replacement was found for the second day, but she could never get comfortable with it, shooting a 107. She ended up tied for 23rd in Division 2.

Seniors Emma Westmoreland and Grace Bauer had almost identical scores, with Westmoreland at 216 and Bauer at 217. Junior Cora Atkins finished at 233 and senior Megan Erlitz shot a 253.

Bauer had the most memorable single hole of the tournament for the Spartans. Bauer left her tee shot on one of the par three holes two inches from the cup. She was able to tap in for the birdie.

Flater said the girls were exhausted but happy after the experience.

"They accomplished so much just getting there," Flater said. "Out of 50 some teams (in Division 2) we were in the top six."

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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