Golfers compete at state meet

By Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor


THE NORTH/SOUTH GOLF TEAM poses at University Ridge earlier this week. Pictured from left to right are: Coach Craig Walters, Kayla Hendrikse, Zjeneexa Vang, Ava Wittstock, Kenyon Place, Hannah Miller, Taylor Peper and assistant coach Jeff Kainz. – Submitted photo

There would be no stops at Dairy Queen this time, but it had nothing to do with Sheboygan’s showing at the two-day State Golf Meet.

The North/South co-op team, which finished in 11th place out of 12 Division 1 schools Tuesday at Verona’s University Ridge, had celebrated at the restaurant after the previous couple of outings.

But with a “whole crew of sick people,” that was the last thing on the girls’ minds.

“When we got done with stuff, no one wanted to do much of anything,” coach Craig Walters said. “We went and ate, and the kids pretty much came back to hunker down in the hotel room. Everybody had a nasty cold going on.”

Middleton won the state title with a score of 651, while Sheboygan finished at 737 with four of its five girls sick.

“I think it had a lot to do with it, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse for them,” Walters said. “Ava (Wittstock) the first day, she struggled through to just walk 18 holes much less swing her club. We had Kleenex going all over the place and a lot of dripping noses, watery eyes from just not feeling good. And it was cold on top of it.”

The start of the tournament Monday was delayed by 90 minutes because of frost and there was even a 30-minute lightning delay on Tuesday.

“I guess when you’re playing in the first part of October, you get a little bit of everything,” the coach said. “You’ve just got to adapt and make do.

“The practice round was freezing on Sunday. It was really cold. It was like 40 degrees with 15-mile-an-hour winds blowing pretty steady. It was not an enjoyable way to start your state stay down there. But you’ve got to take what you’ve got.”

Junior Zjeneexa Vang led Sheboygan by tying for 32nd place with a 174. Her first-round 80 also led the team.

Junior Taylor Peper’s 183 was second on the squad and Wittstock, a sophomore, was third at 185 after a team-best 84 in the second round.

Freshman Hannah Miller, the only golfer who was not sick, finished fourth at 195 and sophomore Kenyon Place ended fifth at 208.

Afterward, Walters told the team he was proud.

“Half the battle is getting down there,” he said. “I didn’t think we had a legit shot at winning it, but I was hoping to maybe finish in the top six. But it was fun. Other than being sick and cold, I think they had a good experience. That’s all I was hoping for them to do.”

Despite not having any seniors, Sheboygan qualified for its first trip to state since 2011 by winning the Oshkosh West Sectional on Oct. 11.

Four years ago, there were just six girls in the program and the team did not qualify for sectionals.

It was fifth last season (the top two teams advance to state) after taking eighth – out of eight schools – the year before.

The squad had three of the top-five sectional golfers, as Wittstock was second with a 6-over-par 78. Vang placed third and Peper finished fifth.

So Sheboygan visited the Dairy Queen in Fond du Lac on its way home, just like it did after another recent meet.

“Kids seem to like ice cream,” Walters said. “I just get a cone so I can drive. They all get blizzards and whatever else.”

Vang ordered a strawberry sunday after getting a Brownie and OREO Cupfection the first time.

“I usually like to get different things each time,” she said.

Wittstock, who was the medalist at the Fond du Lac Regional, went with the Choco Brownie Extreme Blizzard both times.

“I was very excited knowing we won,” Wittstock said. “I love it there.”

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