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New Richmond girls golf team takes sixth in Division 1 state championships

New Richmond was represented at the 2012 WIAA State Golf Championships by (l-r) Sarah Ziller, Rachel Ziller, Megan Chelberg, Leah Bauer, Jordan Peterson and Alex Wheeler.

New Richmond's girls golf team produced the best performance in team history at the WIAA State Girls Golf Championships last week.

The Tigers finished tied for sixth in the WIAA Division 1 State Girls Golf Championships at Cherokee Country Club in Madison last Tuesday.

New Richmond ranked sixth in the tournament after the opening round on Monday. The Tigers opened with a 356 score and followed it with a 358 score to finish at 714, tying Middleton for sixth place among the 12 teams in the tournament.

Leading the Tigers in the tournament was junior Alex Wheeler. She finished tied for 22nd overall by shooting a score of 170. She opened the tournament with an 86 and shot an 84 on Tuesday.

Junior Megan Chelberg finished with a 172 score, shooting an 83 on Monday and an 89 on Tuesday.

Senior Leah Bauer shot a 92 on the opening day and a 93 on Tuesday to finish with a score of 185.

Seniors Jordan Peterson and Rachael Ziller finished the tournament with scores of 189. Peterson shot rounds of 95 and 94 to finish with a 189. Ziller opened with a 97 and brought her score down to 92 on Tuesday.

Tiger coach Neal Ziller said the weather conditions made the state tournament a challenge for everyone involved, with temperatures in the low 40s and 30-mile per hour winds.

"It was the first time in four years our seniors have seen weather like that," Ziller said. "The conditions were tough."

Ziller said the experience and composure of the girls helped them through the difficult circumstances. With Wheeler playing in her third straight state tournament and Bauer and Ziller in the second state tournament of their careers, the Tigers had one of the most seasoned lineups in the 12-team state field.

The Tigers ended up 43 strokes behind state champion Homestead. The Tigers were 13 strokes behind Homestead following the first day of the tournament.

"Being 13 strokes out, we thought if we hold on, we might have an outside chance," Coach Ziller said.

However, Homestead improved on its first-day performance by 19 strokes to pull away from the pack.

Having the state tournament at Cherokee this year instead of University Ridge may have worked against the Tigers. New Richmond was one of the longest driving teams in the state field, but Cherokee does not favor long-driving teams as much as University Ridge. On several holes the Tigers ran into trouble because their long drives put them in difficult locations for their second shots.

Ziller said all the Tigers were hoping to play better in the tournament, but said they were too hard on themselves.

He said Chelberg in particular was a standout, shooting an 83 in her first day of her first state tournament.

"She was really playing good golf," he said.

Bauer and Rachel Ziller played all four years in the varsity lineup, an impressive feat on a team that has accomplished so much.

"They did what they needed to maintain their abilities. They played summer tournaments, they took summer lessons," Coach Ziller said.