Boys Golf: St. Croix Central golfers handle pressure, reach sectionals
The St. Croix Central boys golf team entered last Tuesday's WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament with the knowledge that if they played calmly, they could advance to this Tuesday's WIAA Division 2 sectional meet at Tomahawk.
That's just what the Panthers did. They played with composure and limited their mistakes, which put them in third place at the regional tournament played at Turtleback Golf Club in Rice Lake last Tuesday. The top four teams advance from each regional tournament to the sectional level.
Sophomore Jordan Woyda stepped up to play one of the best rounds of his career in leading Central at the regional meet. Woyda shot an 83. He was followed by Mason Bohatta at 88, Zach Anderson at 90, Trevor Woyda at 91 and Jacob Sanders at 93.
The Panthers finished with a team score of 352. Rice Lake won the regional on its home course with a 308 score. Amery finished in second at 348. Barron was the fourth sectional qualifier, shooting a 370.
Central had played a practice round at Turtleback the previous Friday and Central coach Chris Buckel said that round put the Panthers in the right frame of mind for the regional.
"I knew the boys weren't intimidated by the course," Buckel said. "I told the boys to play loose and enjoy the game."
After the front nine, Central was in great position to advance. Buckel warned the Panthers that the back nine is more difficult and they needed to maintain their composure. Jordan Woyda's 83 made sure the Panthers were in good position to advance.
"Jordan played incredible. He finished with a birdie on the 18th hole, which is probably the toughest hole on the course," Buckel said.
Buckel said the leadership of Trevor Woyda, the only senior in the varsity lineup, has been exceptional this season.
"He leads by example on and off the course. His dedication to the game of golf is the best I have seen in my tenure," Buckel said.
Being a third-place team at regionals means the Panthers won't be a favorite to advance to state. But the Panthers are going to play with a different approach than they did at regionals.
"We will approach sectionals by being much more aggressive. We are up against some really good teams and individuals. It is time to put it all on the line," Buckel said.
The Spartans saw their season come to an end at the Rice Lake regional meet. Somerset finished in tenth place with a 410 team score. The Spartans were led by senior Jake Wittstock with a 96. Francisco Gomez shot 100, Brett Nelson 101, Dominic Abbott 113 and Colton Musta 115.
"Overall the short season was our biggest struggle, from the first conference meet to the last one the Spartan team cut 25 strokes from their nine-hole score so in a normal season we would have seen even better improvement," said Somerset coach Todd Myers.