MHS girls golfers excited to have a season

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Instead of competing this fall, Glenna Sanderson and Middleton’s girls golf team will play from late-March until mid-May./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

When we last saw Becky Halverson, she was hoisting a state championship trophy.

Halverson, Middleton’s girls golf coach, enjoyed a victory ride with her team on the back of a fire truck. And when she exhaled, Halverson took great pride in the fact she’s built one of the best programs in the state.

Last week, Halverson and the Cardinals got perhaps their best news since claiming the WIAA Division 1 state title last October.

The WIAA Board of Control approved several details for fall sports to also be played in the spring for the 2020-21 calendar year only. Middleton — which elected not to play sports this fall due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 — will now be able to play fall sports in the spring.

Girls golf will run from March 29 until the week of May 17. And if everything goes according to plan, Halverson’s team should get a chance to defend their title.

“We want a chance to defend our title, I think that’s a natural feeling,” Halverson said. “We are excited to have an opportunity to compete again, regardless of the timing of the season.”

Much of the state plans to attempt playing fall sports this fall, including traditional powers such as Brookfield Central, Hartland Arrowhead and Kettle Moraine. Those schools — and many others across the state — began their season Monday.

WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson has said if things go well, those schools will have some type of “culminating event” later this fall.

Halverson admits watching those schools begin their season earlier this week was tough. But she’s optimistic it will only make her Cardinals hungrier when their year finally begins.

“I’m certain the girls will use those emotions to be certain they are ready when it’s our time,” Halverson said.

When the time arrives, Middleton —  which has two state titles and two second place finishes since 2015 — figures to field another terrific team. The Cardinals are expected to return four of their top six golfers, led by senior Glenna Sanderson, juniors Ellie Frisch and Milanne Dahmen, and sophomore Amanda Beckman.

The move to spring will create challenges, though. The most obvious one is weather.

The average temperature in Middleton on March 29 — when golf season begins — is 43 degrees. There could certainly be snow on the course when the golfers commence. And don't forget, an average April in Middleton has nine days of rain (3.4 total inches) and two days where it snows (2.6 inches).

“The issue with spring weather is obvious,” Halverson said. “The girls have always had the good fortune of playing the majority of the season in summer temperatures. It will be an adjustment to move into spring conditions.”

Course availability will also be an issue.

Pleasant View provides a practice home for both the girls and boys teams. That could get tricky, though, in the spring when both teams want to practice after school.

Some athletes might also have to choose whether to play golf or their traditional spring sport. While the WIAA said athletes can try playing two sports at once, there would be immense challenges trying to make that happen.

“In many cases athletes will need to pick between sports they love,” Halverson said. “Even if schools allow students to play multiple sports at one time, there will still have to be decisions made on a daily basis. It’s a tough spot for a high school athlete.”

While there will be far more trials than a traditional year, Halverson and the Cardinals are happy they’ll get to compete next spring.

“We were excited to get back together in August, but it didn’t work out,” she said. “That excitement will only build until the end of March. It’s a longer wait than everyone wanted, but it’s not a decision we can control. We’ll make the most out of the opportunity.”

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