Middleton girls golfers thinking big

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Lindsay Callahan and Middleton's girls golf team have high hopes this fall./File photo

Their season hadn’t even begun. And already the highlights were coming.

Loren Skibba, Middleton’s brilliant girls golfer, popped up on ESPN’s top plays last week after she drained a bunker shot at the Junior PGA Championships.

“I just got lucky that the cameramen were there for that shot,” said Skibba, a senior. “It was super cool and the whole experience was awesome.”

Many believe there are countless highlights still to come.

Middleton finished third at the WIAA Division 1 state meet last season. Along the way, Skibba became just the second golfer in school history to win an individual state title.

Now, with five of their top six players back from a year ago, the Cardinals will be gunning for gold when the season begins Friday at the Madison Invite at Yahara Hills. Middleton began the season ranked No. 2 in the first Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin poll of the season.

“It’s going to be an exciting season that we’re all looking forward to,” Middleton third-year coach Becky Halverson said. “Our goal for this season is going to be to have fun. 

“You can’t win tournaments if you’re not having fun.  We obviously know there is a lot expected of us this year, but we’re going to take things one day at a time.  We’re going to practice with a purpose and try to become as tough as we can come October.”

Skibba agreed.

“Personally, my goal is to win state as a team this year,” Skibba said. “I think it’d be a great way to end my senior year, and obviously it’s a goal for the rest of the team as well!”

Middleton was certainly tough a year ago. And with the overwhelming majority of the roster back, 2015 could be even better.

Everything begins with Skibba, who will play collegiately at Northern Arizona beginning in 2016.

Skibba was a first-team all-state player who averaged 75.04 for the season. In nine regular season tournaments, Skibba finished first five times, and also had a second- and third-place showing. 

Then at state, Skibba shot a 3-over-par, 147 and won the title by four shots over Homestead’s Anika Hitt.

“Having a returning individual state champion is pretty exciting,” Halverson said of Skibba. “She has had some outstanding performances in her summer of tournaments and I can’t wait for her to continue to shine for us.

“We’re all thrilled to have Loren as our leader this year. She did a great job this summer in stepping up and leading some captain’s practices for the girls. 

“Last year I think she learned a lot about being that leader/captain from Rachel Thornton and I’m excited for her to continue in Rachel’s leadership footsteps. The girls really look up to her and I think it will be great having her lead the way for us.”

The Cardinals have several other standouts, as well.

Junior Alexis Thomas was named second-team all-Big Eight and honorable mention all-state.

Thomas averaged 84.0 last season and had five top-five finishes during the year. Thomas then finished 17th at state with an impressive two-day score of 164.

“Alexis is really getting into her groove this summer and has been working really hard to really break through into the 70’s,” Halverson said. “I think we’ll be seeing some good scores from her throughout the season.”

Junior Morgan Narowetz was also named honorable-mention all-Big Eight last season.

Narowetz averaged 87.7, won a pair of Big Eight Conference matches and had three top-five finishes. Narowetz was probably headed for second-team all-conference honors, but withdrew from the conference tournament with an illness.

“Morgan has been working hard at her game over the summer and I think she’s going to put together some decent scores for us,” Halverson said.

Junior Lindsay Callahan had an extremely solid 2014 and averaged 90.68. With another year of experience, Halverson is expecting Callahan to be even better.

“Lindsay has also been working hard on her game and is looking forward to contributing with some consistent scores,” Halverson said.

Junior Morgan Miles was Middleton’s No. 6 golfer last season and has the inside track on winning a varsity job. But the Cardinals are deep and Halverson will have some other options, as well.

That group includes senior Madeline Richards, junior Clare Day, and sophomores Allison Richards, Payton Hodson, Marie Mayers, Grace Peterson and Haley Dunn.

“It’s great to have such great competition going on within the team,” Halverson said.  

Verona, the defending state champions, appears to have another terrific team and will be Middleton’s top competition in the Big Eight.

Across the state, Hartland  Arrowhead and Mequon Homestead figure to have terrific teams, as well.

But Middleton expects to be in the hunt for championships at every level.

“This year’s title is never a given,” Skibba said. “We will still have competition from Verona I presume and other Milwaukee schools.

“But I think all the girls got good experience from the state tournament last year that we should be more prepped for it come this October.”

Which could keep the highlights coming.

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