Middleton golfers rally for third

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton sophomore Sydney Weiss made a hole-in-one at the 128-yard, par-3 12th hole during Monday’s first round of the state tournament./Photo submitted

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ‘em 10 times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world.”


VERONA — That epic speech came from the movie ‘Miracle’, where Kurt Russell played the role of USA hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 1980 Olympics.

As Middleton’s girls golf team jumped into the team Suburban Tuesday morning, Cardinals coach Becky Halverson called up that speech. And Halverson’s team hung on each and every one of Russell’s words.

“The message was we’re here to prove something,” Middleton senior Vivian Cressman said. (Monday) was not us and I think hearing that speech really helped.”

Boy, did it ever.

Middleton struggled at the Day 1 of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament held at University Ridge, shot a disappointing 339 team score and sat in fifth place overall. After listening to Brooks’ speech, though, the Cardinals played like that legendary hockey team.

Middleton shot a second day 312, which was the lowest round of the tournament and the sec-ond-best team score in the last seven years. The Cardinals’ brilliant Day 2 helped them make a miraculous move and jump into third place in the final team standings.

Divine Savior Holy Angels won its first-ever state title with a two-day score of 641, while Wau-nakee was second at 643. The Dashers and Warriors were tied as their No. 1 golfers came to No. 18, then DSHA’s Kate Krueger made birdie, while Waunakee’s Izzy Stricker — who won the individual championship — made bogey.

Middleton was third at 651, while two-time defending state champion Westosha Central (654) and Brookfield East (672) rounded out the top five.

Middleton, making its 12th straight trip to state, has now been in the top three in 10 of those seasons.

“We had a great year. I can’t complain at all,” Halverson said. “Would we like to be (No.) 1 or 2 in the state? Absolutely. We didn’t have our best day (Monday), but coming out on top (Tues-day), I mean we won Day 2 of state and that’s pretty cool. That’s a great accomplishment.”

It sure was, as almost every Cardinal made dramatic gains on Day 2.

Cressman was terrific both days, carding a 2-over-par, 74 in both of her rounds and finishing in a tie for third place at 148. Stricker won her second straight individual title with an even par, 144, while Brookfield East sophomore Payton Haugen was second at 146.

“I’m happy with how I played,” said Cressman, a Navy recruit. “I felt like (Tuesday) I hit the ball better, especially off the tee. It was a good two days.”

For the other Cardinals, it was a good second day after an opening round that saw little go right.

Senior Ellen Close, who plays No. 2 in the lineup behind Cressman, shot a first round 89. But Close closed with a 76 on Day 2 that vaulted her into 24th place individually.

Close’s second round featured a birdie and 14 pars — including a clutch par putt on the final hole of her Middleton career.

“I’m just so proud of Ellen,” Halverson said. “That wasn’t her on (Monday). She was not herself. I think she put a lot of pressure on herself and (on Tuesday) she knew to just go out there and play and have fun and go out on top and she did that.”

Sophomore Sydney Weiss made enormous gains, as well, firing a second round 81 after shooting an first day 92. That 11-shot improvement helped Weiss card a 173 that was good for 34th overall.

“I’m really proud of myself and this team,” said Weiss, who tied her career-low with that 81. “I think we made a great comeback. We really had nothing to lose and we just played our best and came up with the best score we could.”

Weiss actually had the shot of the tournament during her opening round when she made a hole-in-one at the 128-yard, 12th. Weiss hit a 7-iron that landed 30-feet from the pin, but kept rolling … and rolling … and rolling … until it found the bottom of the cup.

“I hit it short right and I started to pick my tee up, not really thinking anything of it,” Weiss said. “And then somebody said, ‘Go in,’ so I looked up and it just kept rolling and it just eventually disappeared.”

Unfortunately for Weiss, the rest of her first round was a struggle. But Weiss rebounded with a magnificent performance on Day 2 that included nine pars and a birdie.

“I’m really happy with an 81,” Weiss said. “I’m really proud of myself for coming back from a bad day (Monday) and coming back a lot better and a lot stronger and tying my PR.

“I’m just really proud of this team. I’m just really proud of how we came back.”

Maddy Wilcox had a lot to be proud of, as well.

The Cardinals’ junior carded a first day 88, but trimmed seven shots off of that total and fired a second day 81. Wilcox made eight pars and a birdie during her second round and finished in 28th place with a 169.

Overall, the trio of Close, Weiss and Wilcox improved by 31 shots between the first and second rounds.

“Day one we definitely did not play our best,” Cressman said. “But I remember saying in the van before we got out, we’ve got nothing to lose. We had already played bad.

“We had confidence. We had a lot of girls shoot their best scores, and that’s really nice to see.”

Halverson agreed.

“On Monday, they were playing a little hesitant, a little timid,” she said. “And today they didn’t want that feeling again. They said they were going to rise and they were going to grind and they were grinding all day.”

Junior Emily Utter and sophomore Annika Jafferis also contributed to Middleton’s third place finish.

Utter shot an 88 during Monday’s first round and tied Wilcox for the Cardinals’ second-best score of the day. Jafferis played on Tuesday, and while her score wasn’t kept, she shot a re-spectable 93.

In all, it was a remarkable reversal of fortune for a Middleton team that looked cooked after Round 1. But perhaps a few words from Herb Brooks — and Kurt Russell — was all it took.

“They asked, ‘Can we hear the Miracle speech again?’ and they took it to heart and they never backed down,” Halverson said. “And that’s one of their sayings: never back down. Never what? Never give up.

“We had nothing to lose. They were not happy with how they performed (Monday) and they knew they could do better and they went and did it. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”



Oct. 9-10

At University Ridge GC, par 72

Team scores: 1, DSHA 325-316 — 641; 2, Waunakee 325-318 — 643; 3, Middleton 339-312 — 651; 4, Westosha Central 324-330 — 654; 5, Brookfield East 337-335 — 672; 6, Bay Port 352-325 — 677; 7. Kaukauna 352-334 — 686; 8, Brookfield Central 366-355 — 721; 9, Oconomowoc 372-363 — 735; 10, Hudson 384-368 — 752; 11, Union Grove 394-385 — 779; 12, Holmen 391-398 — 789.

Middleton scores: Vivian Cressman 74-74 — 148; Ellen Close 89-76 — 165; Sydney Weiss 92-81 — 173; Maddy Wilcox 88-81 — 169; Emily Utter (Round 1) 88; Annika Jafferis (Round 2) 93.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet