MHS golfers headed back to state

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Nils Arneson had a terrific back nine Wednesday, which helped Middleton's boys golf team earn a trip to the state tournament./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Five days before the biggest golfing day of the year, Brady Thomas sat outside Pleasant View and said something that eventually looked prophetic.

“Survive and advance,” Thomas said. “That’s all we want to do. Survive and advance.”

It wasn’t easy, but that’s exactly what Middleton’s boys golf team did at the WIAA Division 1 Onalaska Sectional last Wednesday.

The Cardinals sat in fifth place halfway through the round, a nightmarish landing spot considering only the top two teams reach the state tournament.

But Middleton, ranked No. 2 in the state, picked it up on the back nine, jumped up to second place and earned a trip back to state.

Madison Memorial shot a 312 and won the eight-team sectional. Middleton was second at 314, while Oregon (323), Reedsburg (326) and Waunakee (329) rounded out the top five.

The state tournament will be held Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course. The Cardinals, who have won five state titles in school history, are looking for their first crown since 2011.

“The bottom line is we are headed back to state and excited for the opportunity,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “Many good teams will be competing, but I am very encouraged how we fought adversity and the guys have the opportunity to finish the season on the course they wanted to end their career on.”

Cardinals senior and No. 1 golfer Emmet Herb led the way with a 76. Senior Brady Thomas was second at 77, while senior Nils Arneson (79) and senior Joey Levin (82) rounded out the scoring for Middleton.

While Middleton was breathing a sigh of relief after the round was over, the hours beforehand were extremely nerve-wracking.

Oregon led the way at the turn with a 156, while Reedsburg (158), Madison Memorial (159) and Waunakee (161) were all ahead of Middleton’s 162 score.

Herb was steady throughout the front nine and made the turn at even par, 36. But Thomas (41), Levin (42) and Arneson (44) were all off their games.

“Very rough front nine scores with the only decent nine coming from Emmet,” Cabalka said. “A 162 front nine is not indicative of the skill level of this group. Putts weren’t falling and some swings just were off. 

“One of the things that we really stress is to keep grinding and don’t worry about what other teams are doing and just play your game. The guys knew that we had not shot a good front nine and knew we had a pretty big hill to climb to put up a decent 18-hole score. This is a pretty tight group and they did not want to end their high school career that way.”

They didn’t — thanks to a clutch back nine.

Arneson came up huge on the back nine with a 1-under-par, 35. Arneson made par on his first four holes, then birdied No. 14. Arneson parred No. 15 and 16, then birdied No. 17 before making a bogey at No. 18.

“(Nils) playing the front at 8-over-par, then the back in 1-under was huge for us,” Cabalka said of Arneson. “That should give him great confidence next week at state.”

Thomas was nearly as good, firing an even-par, 36 on the second nine.

And when Herb and Thomas both carded respectable 40s, Middleton jumped a handful of teams and finished second.

“It really was a tale of two nines for all the guys,” Cabalka said.

Now, the Cardinals are headed back to state with high hopes and lofty goals.

It will be the third straight trip to state for Levin, Herb and Thomas — and the second for Arneson. Middleton was fourth at state in 2014 and fifth last year.

This group of seniors, one that has seen and accomplished so much, would like nothing more than to bring a trophy back to Middleton.

“It would be sweet,” Herb said. “It’s something we’ve all dreamed about for a long time.”

 

Onalaska sectional

Team scores: 1, Madison Memorial 312; 2, Middleton 314; 3, Oregon 323; 4, Reedsburg 326; 5, Waunakee 329; 6, Onalaska 331; 7, Sparta 361; 8, Holmen 371.

Top five individuals: 1, Weitz, MM, 75; 2 (tie), O’Loughlin, MM, Brown, R, Andringa, MM, Herb, Mid, 76.

Individual state qualifiers: Brown, R, 76; Kaegi, Verona, 77; Hinz, Baraboo, 77.

Madison Memorial: Weitz 75, O’Loughlin 76, Andringa 76, Piotrowski 85. Middleton: Herb 76, Thomas 77, Arneson 79, Levin 82. Oregon: Klus 78, Risser 79, Candell 82, Rogers 84. Reedsburg: Brown 76, Decorah 79, Hilgendorf 83, Arneson 88. Waunakee: Murphy 80, Forseth 82, Werlein 83, Freeman 84.

At La Crosse CC, par 72.

 

 

 

 

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