No boy has won back-to-back state golf titles in Division 3 since 2008-’09, and reigning champion Drake Wilcox thinks it will stay that way.
“I don’t think we’re going to have a golf season, but if there is a possibility – even the slightest – the fact I might not win a state championship, is just, I don’t know how to explain it,” the Lutheran senior said. “I guess it’s just the fun of it that I’ll be missing out on, like my final year of playing golf in high school. It’s not really about winning another state championship, the most important thing to me is just having fun, having a blast my last year. I just wanted to have fun, enjoy my last year with my friends.
“Winning another state championship would be amazing, but at the same time, it’s really not much of a bother because I’ve got college golf coming up and other tournaments this summer.”
Wilcox, who became his school’s first WIAA state champion last spring after placing second as a freshman and third as a sophomore, will golf at Queens University of Charlotte.
He was down there for a week recently and got in a few rounds of golf, but it was much different returning to Wisconsin.
“It was really disappointing, because we didn’t even know going to North Carolina we’d come back into a lockdown,” Wilcox said. “Now that it’s locked down, you can’t really do anything.”
The WIAA was scheduled to hold a meeting Tuesday to decide the fate of spring sports (the Beacon’s deadline was Friday), and whatever its decision is, Wilcox is ready for it.
“I hope by some miracle we can play, but if it doesn’t happen, it is what it is,” he said. “You’ve just got to live with it.”
In addition to Wilcox, who has “gotten a little bit better” every year according to Lutheran coach Larry Kettle, senior Joel Hacker and junior Andrew Meador also return after helping the team to a school-best third-place showing at state a year ago.
“It’ll be interesting to see who steps up and takes the fourth and fifth position on the team,” Kettle said
The Eagles will also be disappointed if the season is called off because they return all five golfers from last year.
Senior Matt Alsum, junior Ben Bulkow and sophomores Michael Modahl, Will Grasse and Josiah Stecker are back, and senior David Rasmussen was also going to contribute.
“It is disappointing,” coach Todd Wagner said. “The excitement of having those sophomores come back and some veterans, it would’ve been a fantastic season.”
Wagner also feels next season “and even beyond” was going to be successful for the Eagles.
“It’s kind of unfortunate, but we’re looking forward to getting them going whenever we can,” he said.
Modahl, slated to be one of the top golfers in the Big East according to his coach, finished 11th at the league championship as a freshman.
“He had a very good soccer season and a very good basketball season,” Wagner said. “We were looking to capitalize on that momentum. I know he’s been practicing in his available time in the offseason, too. He’s got one year of experience and his work ethic, attitude, would have been extra special.”
Craig Walters was hired to replace former coach Andrew Delong after he took the same position at UW-Stout in the offseason.
Walters was his assistant for the previous eight seasons and has led the girls’ program at North for the last 17.
The Golden Raiders held an informational meeting March 9 for athletes and their parents, but then school was cancelled a few days later and there was never an official sign-up date.
“Just from the girls experience, I usually sometimes get let’s say 20 girls show up for that but then 16 come out for golf,” Walters said. “But I’m pretty sure I had 16 boys show up to that meeting and I’m pretty sure 16 of them are going to show up because most of them were on the team for the last one or two years. There were a few freshmen that came to see what it was about, so I’m assuming they were still going to come out. But you never know.”
What is certain is the two North golfers who made state last season will not return.
Max Schmidtke, who tied for eighth in Division 1, and Austin Thyes, who tied for 20th, graduated. So did Grant Quassius, the No. 3 golfer on the team at the Fox River Classic Conference meet.
Two juniors are back in Kyle Larson and Evan Spaulding.
North will not have any seniors this year and the coach says all five spots are pretty much up for grabs.
“You never know when we start shaking things out, if we ever get to shake things out,” Walters said.
Four Redwings who golfed in the conference tourney return, several freshmen came out and coach Sim Safford already knows a few eighth graders are interesting in joining the program next year.
“Hopefully the future is looking bright for us,” he said.
Safford thinks South will be better than last year.
One of the reasons is junior Nick Kolar, who made third-team all-conference last season.
Other juniors include Jacob Pitsch and Owen Beumler, as well as senior Noah Meisfeld.
“I feel pretty bad for Noah because he was pretty dedicated to the season,” coach Sim Safford said. “He’s still hitting balls and practicing. “I’ve been reaching out to guys to try to stay focused. They can practice their golf swing in the backyard, do some chipping or just keep their swing fluid.
“Then when the courses open up, to get out there and practice all the different fundamentals of the game.
“We’re all trying to make the most of this.”