Third straight MBC title for Tiger golfers

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The supremacy of the New Richmond girls golf team has continued for another season.

The Tiger girls wrapped up their third straight Middle Border Conference championship by winning the MBC tournament played last Tuesday at Amery and the final MBC match played last Thursday at Ellsworth.

The Tigers rank as one of the most dominant programs in any sport in the MBC. Since 2010, the Tigers have won seven of the past eight MBC championships.

Leading the Tigers was junior Maggie Veenendall, who was the individual conference champion for the second straight season. She ranked third in the MBC standings as a freshman before winning her individual titles the past two seasons.

Joining Veenendall on the 10-girl All-MBC team are junior Ashley Swiggum and senior Rebecca Ziller. Swiggum ranked fourth in individual points while Ziller ranked tenth.

One of the reasons for the success of the Tigers is finding a cohesive five players who formed the varsity team all season. Veenendall, Swiggum and Ziller were joined on the varsity team by seniors Elise Kolbeck and Molly Hassler. The Tigers were the top finishers in eight of the nine conference events this season.

Last Tuesday's conference tournament was played at the always challenging Amery Golf Club where high winds and tough pin placements made the conditions even more challenging. New Richmond tied Amery for the tournament championship by shooting a 206. There were only three girls in the tournament who shot below 100. Veenendall was the tournament medalist, finishing at 86.

Among Veenendall's shots was a near-ace on the par three second hole. She left her drive within six inches of the cup, tapping in for the birdie.

That wasn't the shot that impressed Tiger coach Neal Ziller the most from Veenendall's round. He chose her drive on the 18th hole, where she used her hybrid to put her drive through a swirling wind, landing her shot 10 feet from the cup.

"She hit that shot like a pro," Ziller said.

Swiggum shot a 106 at the tournament, with Ziller at 108, Kolbeck at 111 and Hassler at 125.

The Tigers won the conference championship despite losing Jessica Hagman, the team's number two player, days before the season began. All five varsity girls have been in the program several years and it showed in how they bonded into a steadily improving team.

"The team to me felt a lot more mature than in the past," said Ziller. "They're seasoned, more experienced. They know what to do."

Ziller said that showed most in the team's practices, where the girls used their time constructively, always looking for ways to improve.

Veenendall battled a leg injury the final weeks of the season, missing one match. Since she returned from the injury, her play has been rock solid. Coach Ziller said the adversity has helped Veenendall advance her "inner toughness."

The Tigers completed the conference title by shooting a 191 to win last Thursday's match at Ellsworth. This was a makeup for the rainout that happened three days earlier. Veenendall led the Tigers with a 43 at Ellsworth. Swiggum finished at 47, Ziller 51, Hassler 51 and Kohlbeck 53.

The Tigers were scheduled to host the Division 1 regional meet on Wednesday. If they were one of the top four teams at the regional, they will move into the Division 1 sectional field. The sectional meet will be played at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids next Monday.

St. Croix Central

The Panthers finished in fifth place in the final MBC standings. They were one of the more consistent teams in the MBC and they finished the season well, including taking third place at the conference tournament at Amery last Tuesday.

Three Panthers earned All-MBC recognition. Sophomore Brooklyn Mishler and senior Audra Scott were first team players, with senior Abby Edelman finishing as an honorable mention player. Mishler ranked eighth in the individual conference points with Scott directly behind her.

"To say that our team had 3 of the top 15 golfers in the conference is quite an accomplishment," said St. Croix Central coach Logan Kimberly.

Scott led the Panthers at the conference tournament, shooting a 103 to rank fifth. Mishler shot a 108, Edelman 109 and Parker Chladek 112.

The Panthers shot a 202 in the meet at Ellsworth on Thursday. Mishler led the Panthers by shooting 45, with Scott at 48 and Edelman at 52. Chladek and Hanna Wehausen both shot 57. The 202 is the second best score for the Panthers this season. The 45 by Mishler was her best round of the season.

"She was all smiles coming into the clubhouse, and rightfully so because she's a great golfer, and I'm happy to see that things are really clicking for her right now," Kimberly said.

The Panthers were scheduled to begin WIAA Division 2 action on Wednesday, playing at home at Pheasant Hills Golf Course. The top four teams from the regional meet will advance to the sectional, which will be played next Monday at the Frederic Golf Course.

Somerset

The Spartan girls are viewed as dangerous by opponents, because when they play well, they can finish near the top in any meet. That was the case in the final MBC match last Thursday, where the Spartans took second place by shooting a 197. Emma Westmoreland shot a 43 to lead the Spartans. Grace Bauer finished at 49 and Haley Myers at 50. Megan Erlitz shot a 55 and Cora Atkins a 56.

Those results left the Spartans in seventh place in the final MBC standings, three points behind Osceola for sixth place. The Spartans had two girls earn All-MBC honors, with Myers and Bauer both finishing as honorable mention all-conference players.

The Spartans had difficulty with the conditions at the conference tournament at Amery last Tuesday, placing seventh at 459. Myers led the Spartans at 111, with Erlitz two strokes behind her and Bauer at 114. Atkins finished at 121 and Westmoreland at 123.

Somerset is now in Division 2 tournament play. They played at the Pheasant Hills regional meet on Wednesday. The top four teams will advance to the sectional tournament, which will be played at the Frederic Golf Course next Monday.