Local golfers fall short of reaching WIAA state tournament
Golfers from St. Croix Central, New Richmond and Somerset all had hopes of qualifying for the 2017 WIAA state championships, but none were able to advance through last Tuesday’s sectional tournament.
St. Croix Central advanced as a team to the Division 2 tournament, which was held last Tuesday at the Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake. The Panthers shot a 366, placing them ninth among the 12 teams that competed at the sectional meet.
Somerset also had two golfers competing as individuals at Turtleback. Seniors Alex Lahde and Wil Gauper both played well, but fell short of the qualifying scores needed to qualify for the state tournament.
Senior Thomas McKinney was the only New Richmond golfer to advance to last Tuesday’s Division 1 sectional tournament. The tournament was played at the RiverEdge Golf Course in Marshfield. McKinney played solidly in the less than ideal conditions, shooting an 87.
New Richmond coach Jim Saliny reiterated that this was his final match after 30 years of coaching the Tigers. Saliny was not complimentary of the course chosen for the sectional tournament, with major water problems all around the course.
Advancing to the sectional level was another accomplishment in the career of McKinney. He also reached sectionals last season. And in each of the past two seasons, he finished second in the individual points total among Middle Border Conference golfers.
For St. Croix Central’s golfers, the goal all season was to qualify for the sectional meet. The Panthers put in a good showing, especially senior Drew Malecek, who has been the team’s top player for most of his four-year career. Malecek missed qualifying for state as an individual by four strokes. Malecek finished his high school career by shooting an 83, while 79 was the top individual score to qualify for state.
And just as in nearly every match, senior Jared Tilton was Central’s second scorer, finishing with a 93.
“Drew is a special kid who will continue to do special things. The same with Jared, who was a quiet, but effective leader throughout his career. I could always count on him to do his job,” said Central coach Chris Buckel.
Senior Bryan Bresina and sophomore Trevor Woyda shot 95 at the sectional meet and junior Mason Bohatta finished at 97.
“I am excited to have Woyda and Bohatta leading this team next year with strong freshman Zach Anderson and Jordan Woyda joining them,” Buckel said.
For Somerset, the sectional tournament marked the end of the most successful stretch in program history, including winning the Middle Border Conference championship each of the past two seasons. Lahde and Gauper hoped to extend the Spartans’ season one more week, but fell short. Lahde shot an 84 at the sectional meet and Gauper finished at 86.
“Alex and Wil both made some great shots but just didn’t catch the breaks needed when they had the opportunities at making up some strokes,” said Somerset coach Todd Myers.
Myers said the team should focus on its accomplishments, including the MBC title, five match wins, and winning the Bloomer Invitational.