Middleton golfers headed back to state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Vivian Cressman and Middleton's girls golf team qualified for the state tournament for the 11th straight year./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

When the bar is raised to incredible heights, it can be tough to fully appreciate your accomplishments during times you’re not at your best.

And that’s what Middleton girls golf coach Becky Halverson reminded her team of late Monday afternoon.

The Cardinals won the WIAA Division 1 Middleton Sectional on a day their score trended higher than usual.

Middleton shot a 338 at Pleasant View Golf Course and edged Waunakee (341) for the sectional title. Oregon was third with a 352, while Reedsburg (368) and Sun Prairie West (389) rounded out the top five.

Afterwards, though, Halverson and assistant coach Tom Schmitt were quick to find the good.

Middleton had survived — and advanced — meaning it will compete at the state tournament for the 11th straight year.

That’s right — 11th straight year.

The top two teams from each of the six sectionals across Wisconsin advance to the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 10-11 at University Ridge.

Halverson, who has been Middleton’s coach the last 10 years, continued her streak of perfection by watching the 2022 Cardinals earn a state berth — even on a day they finished 16 shots higher than their average.

“We told the girls afterwards that there’s a lot of teams that would love to have this plaque right now,” Halverson said of the sectional championship plaque the Cardinals earned. “So it’s exciting for sure.

“We know that we haven’t shown our best the last three rounds we played. But I think we’re learning a lot and we’ve got a good plan to get to where we want to go.”

While Middleton didn't have a banner day, it did plenty to earn a trip back to state.

Junior Vivian Cressman fired a 6-over-par 77 and finished in a tie for second place individually. Junior Ellen Close shot an 81, while senior Amanda Beckman and sophomore Maddy Wilcox both carded 90s.

“There were some really tough pin placements and the greens were faster than they’ve been,” Halverson said. “So we struggled a little bit.”

Cressman began her day with a birdie at the par-5, 400-yard first hole. She stayed hot and played the front nine at 1-under-par, 35, as well. Cressman struggled a bit on the back nine where she shot 42, but still had a terrific day.

“She started off really well,” Halverson said of Cressman. “On the back nine, she started thinking too much about where she was at (on the leaderboard) instead of the shot at hand. But she’s fully capable of going low. I think she could do big things at state.”

Close’s day was highlighted by an eagle-3 at the par-5, 450-yard fourth hole. Close bombed her drive nearly 250 yards, hit her approach within 20 feet and canned the eagle putt.

“She’s really long off the tees,” Halverson said of Close. “And she had a pretty good day. She finished par-par and actually played the back (39) better than the front (42).”

Beckman and Wilcox both had up and down rounds.

Beckman made birdie at the par-5, 403-yard 11th hole on her way to a 43 on the back nine. Wilcox also shot a 43 on the back nine and helped the Cardinals hold off the Warriors for the sectional title.

Senior Abby Schroeder shot a 93, but only the top four scores are counted.

“All three of them have it in them to play a little bit better and go lower,” Halverson said of Beckman, Wilcox and Schroeder. “We’re going to try and figure out a way to pull together and get some better numbers — keep the mindset of one shot at a time and have fun.”

Middleton now heads to state, where it’s enjoyed remarkable success under Halverson. During Halverson’s first nine years on the job, the Cardinals have won three state championships, been second twice and been third three other times.

This year’s field will be remarkably challenging — but is also wide open.

Defending state champion Westosha Central has been at the top of the polls most of the year, while mighty Union Grove is ranked No. 2. Both of those teams struggled down the stretch, though, and Middleton defeated both at the Janesville Invite two weeks ago.

Brookfield East, Arrowhead, Oconomowoc and Waunakee could also challenge in what’s a loaded field.

But the Cardinals believe if they’re at their best, anything and everything is possible.

“The stress level has been a little higher,” Halverson said. “You know you want to try and get better every year, and we were third last year, so it’d be really cool to be better this year.

“But as long as we stay together, we definitely have a shot. It’s going to be anyone’s game because there’s a lot of good teams. But we’ve shown we can compete with the best teams in the state, so anything’s possible.”

• Reedsburg Regional: The Cardinals shot a 335 and finished second to Waunakee (328) at regionals. Reedsburg (358) and Sun Prairie West (367) also advanced to sectionals from the eight-team regional.

Middleton’s Vivian Cressman was second individually with a 76, while Ellen Close was third at 78. Maddy Wilcox tied for eighth with an 88, while Beckman tied for 17th with a 93.


Oct. 3

Middleton Sectional

Team scores: 1. Middleton, 338; 2. Waunakee, 341; 3. Oregon, 352; 4. Reedsburg, 368; 5. Sun Prairie West, 389; 6. Verona, 392; 7. Mount Horeb and Monona Grove, 397.

Top 5 finishers: 1. Izzi Stricker, W, 76; 2. Vivian Cressman, M, and Jordan Shipshock, W, 77; 4. Ellen Close, M, 81; 5. Ashleigh Johnson, R, 82.

Middleton scores: Vivian Cressman 35-42 — 77; Ellen Close 42-39 — 81; Amanda Beckman 47-43 — 90; Maddy Wilcox 47-43 — 90.


Sept. 29

Reedsburg Regional

Team scores: 1. Waunakee, 328; 2. Middleton, 335; 3. Reedsburg, 358; 4. Sun Prairie West, 367; 5. Madison West, 372; 6. DeForest, 416; 7. Baraboo, 428; 8. Sun Prairie East, 437.

Top 5 finishers: 1. Izzi Stricker, W, 74; 2. Vivian Cressman, M, 76; 3. Ellen Close, M, 78; 4. Jordan Shipshock, W, 79; 5. Brooklyn Fleming, MW, 80.

Middleton scores: Vivian Cressman 37-39 — 76; Ellen Close 39-39 — 78; Maddy Wilcox 46-42 — 88; Amanda Beckman 52-41 — 93.


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