Tigers start MBC season with a victory
Starting the Middle Border Conference girls golf schedule on one of the toughest courses in the MBC resulted in team scores that were slightly inflated over the coaches' expectations.
The MBC golf opener was played Tuesday, Aug. 15, at Somerset's Bristol Ridge Golf Course. The difficulty of the course showed in the respect that only two girls were able to produce scores below 48 in the match. New Richmond's Maggie Veenendall, the 2016 MBC individual champion, showed she's ready to defend her title. She earned medalist honors by shooting a 40. Amery's Annie Lorsung took second place by shooting a 41.
New Richmond won the team competition by shooting a 202. Amery and Ellsworth tied for second place at 214, while Baldwin-Woodville was fourth at 229.
Tuesday's match was the first 18-hole event of the season for the girls, with the girls playing a nine-hole scramble in the morning, before playing their conference match on Bristol Ridge's back nine.
Veenendall led the Tigers to a solid win at Bristol Ridge. While she is firmly established, the rest of the Tigers are seeing their responsibility level go up this season. Ashley Swiggum, who moves up to the second spot in the lineup, shot a 52. Elise Kolbeck, moving up to the third spot, shot a 53. Rebecca Ziller and Molly Hassler, making their first appearance as regulars in the varsity lineup, finished at 57 and 59.
"I saw lots of good things happen," New Richmond coach Neal Ziller said of the opening round. He said he was impressed how Swiggum has stepped up to the challenge of the second spot in the lineup.
"You can tell the one year of growth and maturity. She's a lot more confident in her shots," he said.
The Tigers hosted a meet last Wednesday, mainly against Division 1 teams from within their regional tournament area. The Tigers took second place. Eau Claire Memorial won with 372 and the Tigers were the only other team under 400, finishing at 390.
Veenendall finished second overall with an 81. Swiggum was ninth with a 96, including matching a personal best with a 45 on the back nine. Ziller finished at 102, Kolbeck at 111 and Hassler at 113.
Coach Ziller said he was pleased with how the girls performed, knowing they were facing top-quality opposition on their challenging home course.
St. Croix Central
Central coach Logan Kimberly said his team played well in the scramble portion of Tuesday's event, finishing two under for those nine holes. The Panthers' play wavered on the back nine. Central finished at 238, good for sixth place.
"Bristol is a hard course to play so early in the year when you're still working out the kinks with swings and trying to get your short game going," Kimberly said. "The girls weren't real happy with their scores, which I view as a good thing because they know they can play better."
Sophomore Brooklyn Mishler played a promising round, leading the Panthers with a 54. Seniors Audra Scott and Abby Edelman shot 58 and 59, respectively.
The Spartans placed seventh in the first MBC match of the season, but they didn't produce the type of score they were hoping to see. They finished with a 239 total.
The good news for Somerset came from sophomore Haley Myers, who shot a 49 to tie for fifth place in the individual results. Senior Grace Bauer had the next best score for Somerset, finishing at 60.
"It's safe to say we didn't play up to our potential. But we did identify some areas to work on, and I feel optimistic about the future," said Somerset coach Kristin Flater. It was a common refrain from the MBC coaches who are working with young lineups. "Everyone has some areas to work on, and we're putting in the work this week to prepare for next week."
The conference schedule is hitting full stride, getting in matches before classes start. The MBC golfers will play Thursday, Aug. 24, at Krooked Creek Golf Club in Osceola and Tuesday, Aug. 29, at Pheasant Hills Golf Course in Hammond.