Sports

Golf team advances to state

North/South co-op qualifies Monday by winning sectional 

The North/South golf team shows off its sectional championship plaque on Monday. Pictured from left to right are: Zjeneexa Vang, Kenyon Place, Taylor Peper, Hannah Miller and Ava Wittstock. – Submitted photo

Four years ago, there were just six girls in the Sheboygan North/South golf program and they did not qualify for sectionals.

This afternoon, they won the Oshkosh West Sectional to qualify for the state meet for the first time since 2011.

“We were the sixth-ranked team in the state and we had the lowest 9-hole average going into that sectional, so our expectation was to win it,” Walters said. “But you just never know.”

North/South finished 14 strokes ahead of runner-up Cedarburg at Lake Breese to advance to Division 1 State next Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge in Madison.

The squad had three of the top-five golfers today, as sophomore Ava Wittstock was second overall with a 6-over-par 78. Cedarburg junior Elise Hoven took first with a 72.

“I think I just tried to stay positive and focus on every shot,” she said.

North/South junior Zjeneexa Vang placed third, one stroke behind Wittstock.

“We just have to play our game,” Walters said. “We just kind of go do our business and they’re just solid players that keep the ball in play. They drop a putt here and there, and then all of a sudden when you add them up, they’re in the 70s.”

Junior Taylor Peper finished fifth (84), freshman Hannah Miller ended 14th (92) and sophomore Kenyon Place came in 42nd (108).

“It’s really exciting, actually, because we’ve been putting in all the hard work and now it’s paid off in the end,” Wittstock said.

The team was fifth last season at sectionals (the top two teams qualify) after taking eighth – out of eight schools – the year before.

Walters thought the improvement would be this quick.

“I kind of did,” he said. “Last year we had three all-conference girls returning, I knew I had two other kids in the program already that were pretty good players and I knew I had a freshman coming in that was a good player.”

Then as the season went on, the coach thought reaching state was a strong possibility.

“I knew our sectional gave us a good chance,” Walters said. “It’s just fun going through the whole process, watching the kids grow and get better.”

According to Vang, the coach did not put any pressure on the team at Lake Breese. He told them to have fun and relax.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “When I was a freshman, I never thought that we would go to state because I heard we hadn’t gone to state since 2011. But toward the end of the year, it was pretty exciting to know that we had a chance.”

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