Middleton golfers ready to roll

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Glenna Sanderson and Middleton’s girls golfers have high hopes this spring./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The last thing Becky Halverson wanted was to be invited to graduation parties this summer after not coaching her seniors this spring.

So Halverson — Middleton’s girls golf coach — was naturally giddy when she found out in mid-January that the Cardinals would have a golf season.

On Monday afternoon, Middleton was back at Pleasant View for its first practice since the 2019 season ended nearly 18 months ago.

“The first practice is always a special time,” Halverson said. “This one made only more special by the wait.”

The Cardinals’ season typically runs in the fall. Due to COVID-19, though, the WIAA gave teams the option of postponing fall sports to the spring, and Middleton elected to do just that.

Roughly 80% of the state’s teams played golf last fall, meaning there won’t be nearly as many scheduling options for Halverson and the Cardinals. And while this season will pose some unique challenges, no one in Middleton’s camp is complaining.

“The season will look a little different, but competition is competition,” Halverson said. “There are some great teams playing this spring. Whoever comes out on top at the end of it will have earned it. Our team has some goals, not the least of which is to appreciate the opportunity to compete.”

When we last saw Middleton, it won the WIAA Division 1 state championship in 2019. The Cardinals didn't get a chance to defend that title last fall — one that was captured by Brookfield Central — but will now take aim at the alternate-fall championship later this spring.

Senior Glenna Sanderson figures to be Middleton’s leader.

In 2019, Sanderson battled bursitis in her feet, but still earned second-team all-state honors. Sanderson finished ninth at state with a 156, tied for third at sectionals and had an 18-hole average of 79.9.

“Glenna has been a mainstay in our lineup since her sophomore season,” Halverson said. “We are all looking to see what she has in store for the 2021 season.

“Glenna is a steady player who has the ability to go low. Her ball striking is solid, which will allow her to deal with the sometimes-soggy conditions faced in spring golf. We are excited that she doesn't have to lose her senior season and gets a chance to have some fun.”

Junior Ellie Frisch was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference in 2019 and third-team all-state.

Frisch lowered her nine-hole average to 81.50 after averaging 88.50 as a freshman. Frisch was also fifth at regionals, sixth at sectionals and tied for 18th at state.

“Ellie impressed us with her day two bounce back at state in 2019, really demonstrating to us how she is maturing in her game,” Halverson said. “Ellie has been a mainstay in our line-up since her freshman season. The balance in her game is one of her strengths.”

Junior Milanne Dahmen was named first-team all-Big Eight and honorable-mention all-state in 2019.

Dahmen averaged 86.4, an improvement of 3.5 shots from her freshman year. Dahmen also had a terrific postseason where she was third at regionals, sixth at sectionals and tied for 44th at state.

“Milanne has shown improvement each year, and now has the opportunity to consistently be an impact player,” Halverson said. “She has worked hard on her game and we are excited to see where that hard work will lead her.”

Sophomore Amanda Beckman got some valuable experience as a freshman, and could be poised for a breakout season.

“Amanda gained a lot of great experience in her freshman season,” Halverson said. “She was able to play and travel with a group of ladies who had a singular focus. She has tremendous ability and great feel for the game. Amanda has all of the tools to be a difference maker in the top five.”

Freshman Vivian Cressman is an accomplished junior golfer who could immediately crack the five-person lineup. Freshman Ellen Close will also challenge for a varsity spot.

The season will be quick.

Regionals will begin May 5, sectionals take place the following week and the alternate-fall state tournament is May 17-18. Halverson & Co. would like nothing better than to chase another title, but are also thrilled just to have a season.

“We were excited to find out we would have an opportunity to play together before our seniors graduated,” Halverson said. “The last year has been crazy for so many people on so many levels. And like everyone, we have seen our share of highs and lows.

“We believe we can use the experiences over the last year as a strength moving forward. COVID has impacted people in different ways. As far as our team, it has made us appreciate the time we have and has reminded us that relationships and the togetherness is more important than the scores.”

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