Middleton golfers have great expectations

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Kate Meier was the Big Eight Conference’s Player of the Year in 2018 and a second-team all-state selection./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Great expectations are an annual event inside Middleton’s girls golf program. Delivering on those hopes has never been a problem.

The Cardinals have reached the WIAA Division 1 state tournament 19 times in the last 22 years. And in that time, Middleton won state championships in both 2009 and 2015, and finished second six times — including last year.

It’s safe to say the prospects for greatness are as high as ever this fall. And Middleton fully expects to make a run at greatness once again.

The Cardinals return their top four golfers from last year’s team that had a magical performance at state. That team had the best second-day score and out a scare into champion Kettle Moraine before eventually settling for second place.

Now, with the majority of last year’s group back, the Cardinals know a state title in certainly possible this fall.

“We had a great second day at state last year, and it was fun to watch the girls play well on a big stage,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “But that was last year.

“The girls had the opportunity to experience it, and learn from it, but outside of that it doesn’t have anything to do with this season. Each week we will take a look at what we do well, where we need to be better, and adjust from there.”

This may be a year where Halverson doesn’t need to adjust much.

Of Middleton’s returnees, senior Kate Meier was named the Big Eight Conference’s Player of the Year in 2018 and also garnered second-team all-state honors. Junior Glenna Sanderson was named first-team all-Big Eight and received honorable-mention all-state recognition.

And both sophomore Ellie Frisch and enior Makenzie Hodson were named second-team all-Big Eight.

“To bring back a strong core of girls is a great thing for any coach,” Halverson said. “The most exciting thing, from my point of view, is the opportunity to strengthen already well established relationships.”

Meier has already had a sensational career and hopes to add to it this fall.

Meier was a first-team all-Big Eight selection each of the last two years and was named second-team all-conference in 2016. Meier finished in the top eight at every match or tournament she played last year, highlighted by a fifth-place finish at state.

Meier’s nine-hole average last season was 39.48, down from 41.19 in 2017 and 43.97 in 2016. Now, she hopes to make her final season at MHS her best yet.

“Kate is a strong voice on our team, a girl who leads without effort, and younger players follow without question,” Halverson said. “Entering her fourth year as a varsity golfer she faces the exciting time of picking a college to continue her playing career.

“Kate has worked hard in the offseason, and has been playing solid in the months leading up to her senior season. It will be fun to watch her play with a team that is experienced and have similar beliefs and goals.”

Sanderson averaged 42.94 last season and had five rounds below 40. Sanderson won the Big Eight Conference tournament and finished 18th individually at state.

“Glenna has shown great growth with her confidence on the course,” Halverson said. “That boost in confidence seems to be reflected in her summer scores.

“Glenna is still relatively new to competitive golf, as she didn’t take up golf until her freshman year. With that in mind, there will likely be a few bumps in the road. We are excited to see how Glenna handles those challenges as she continues to mature as a golfer.”

Hodson averaged 44.67 last season after averaging 48.58 in 2017. Hodson also shot a second-day 83 at state where she made a terrific recovery after making a nine on the first hole.

“Mak is an amazingly driven individual who takes on as much as she can handle in every part of her life,” Halverson said. “School, golf, basketball, career planning, academic prep, etc. If she does it, she puts herself into it. I anticipate Mak using that drive and focus to reach her goals, and continue to push the girls around her.”

Frisch averaged 44.24 during a terrific freshman season and saved her best round of the year for the second day of state. There, Frisch shot an 82 and chipped in for eagle on her final hole of the year. 

“We look for Ellie to continue to build off a solid freshman season,” Halverson said. “She played in quite a few tournaments over the summer, and that experience, coupled with last year’s lessons, should set Ellie up for continued growth.”

Milanne Dahmen, who was Middleton’s alternate last year, is the frontrunner to step into the lineup.

“I expect her to continue to improve with her decision making on the course,” Halverson said of Dahmen. “She has a lot of great potential and I'm excited to see where it takes her.”

Others such as Kennedy Francois, Karlye Kriewaldt, Kayla Ruedebusch, Emma Kostecki, Devan Utter and Amanda Beckman will compete for the No. 5 spot.

Defending state champion Kettle Moraine will be string again. Others such as Brookfield Central, Bay Port and Arrowhead should also contend.

But Middleton knows it has a chance for big things — and its season could be a memorable one.

“They need to find themselves, and create an identity as a team,” Halverson said. “It’s always a process, and it will be filled with ups and downs. Should be a fun journey.”

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