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Girls golf preview: Spartans, Tigers once again chasing Rails, Hurricanes

For the second straight year, the Heart O’ North Conference will be among the strongest in Wisconsin for girls golf.

Northwestern High School and Superior High School hope to be competitive, but neither team has any doubt who the favorites are this year.

“Teams to beat in our conference generally are Hayward and Spooner, and I wouldn’t expect anything different this season,” said Dan Schulz, Superior head coach.

Spooner has claimed the HON title the past two seasons, with Hayward finishing second both times. The Hurricanes won five straight titles from 2009 to 2013.

At last year’s WIAA Division 2 Girls Golf State Championship, Hayward finished fourth in the team standings, while Spooner finished fifth.

The Rails return all five golfers from their state-qualifying team, and Hayward returns all but one.

“We have a very competitive conference,” said Tanya Amys, Tigers head coach.

Northwestern’s last HON girls golf title came in 2007. Superior’s was in 2000.

The Spartans placed sixth in the HON last year, while Northwestern tied Ladysmith in total points but took fifth.

Northwestern Tigers

The Tigers begin their season today at the Barron Scramble. On Tuesday, they’ll host Cumberland and Luck-Unity in an HON dual meet.

“We have four of our five varsity players returning from last year,” Amys said. “They are all key players and play very important roles on the team.”

Leading the way is Kendra Maki. The junior finished eighth in the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet last year and was two strokes away from qualifying for state as an individual. She has been named to the HON All-Conference team the past two seasons, finishing fourth in the HON standings last year.

Also back from last year’s top five are seniors Kamry Gary and Jennifer Thul and junior Sarah Wahlquist.

Adding further depth for the Tigers are seniors Britta Lind and Paige Orlowski. Sophomores Chloe Larson and Lita Lind, along with freshman Kiernan Smith, will also be looking to make an impact this year.

“This group of girls has great team cohesion,” Amys said. “They work very well together and are great with encouraging each other. They genuinely enjoy being together as a team on and off of the course.”

One area to improve upon is team confidence, Amys said. The Tigers bring back plenty of experience from last season. Amys said the players are working hard so they can feel confident on any course they play.

“We expect to have a great season,” Amys said. “The entire team is looking forward to having a lot of fun this season, and we are hoping to make it to the sectional meet as an entire team.”

Steve High is serving as assistant coach this year, and Amber Fiebrink is the team manager.

Kristine Britton, Northwestern’s only graduating senior from last year’s team, is continuing her golf career with the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets.

“She was an excellent leader on the team,” Amys said.

Superior Spartans

Superior has some rebuilding to do this season.

The Spartans lost seniors Hailey Gronquist, Halie Mackie and Kayla Raboin from last year’s team. Raboin placed 10th in the overall individual standings to earn HON All-Conference honors.

“She was our No. 1 golfer last season and our most valuable golfer,” Schulz said.

Returning from last year’s varsity team are Lauren Raboin, a sophomore, and Melissa Walkowiak, a senior. Other returning golfers are Bridget Beyer, Abby Johnson, Connie Misfeldt and Jasmine Wills.

“We also have five incoming freshman who are hoping to make an impact,” Schulz said.

Joining Schulz this year as co-head coach is Bradley Larson.

The Spartans will host six home meets in 2016, including the WIAA Division 1 girls golf regional.

Superior opens its season Tuesday at Barron. On Wednesday, the Spartans will host a pre-regional invite at Nemadji Golf Course. Teams competing will be Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire Memorial, Eau Claire North, Menomonie, New Richmond, Rice Lake and River Falls.

“We have a few girls with strengths off the teeing ground, and certainly an area we will be focusing on throughout the season will be around the greens,” Schulz said. “Our expectations are to work hard and strive to get better every day.”

Northwestern Tigers

2016 Varsity Roster

Kamry Gary................................................ Sr.

Chloe Larson............................................... So.

Britta Lind.................................................. Sr.

Lita Lind..................................................... So.

Kendra Maki............................................... Jr.

Paige Orlowski............................................ Sr.

Kiernan Smith.............................................. Fr.

Jennifer Thul................................................ Sr.

Sarah Wahlquist.......................................... Jr.

Northwestern Tigers

2016 Girls Golf Schedule

Fri., Aug. 12........... Barron scramble, 9:30 a.m.

Tue., Aug. 16.......... at Northwestern, 9 a.m.

Thur., Aug. 18......... Hayward Invite, 9 a.m.

Mon., Aug. 22......... Barron Invite, 9 a.m.

Tue., Aug. 23.......... Amery Invite, 9 a.m.

Wed., Aug. 24........ Superior Invite, 9 a.m.

Fri., Aug. 26........... at Chetek-Weyer., 9 a.m.

Mon., Aug. 29......... Hosting meet, 9 a.m.

Wed., Aug. 31........ at Frederic, 9 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 6.......... at Luck, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 8......... Barron Invite, 9 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 13........ vs. Barron/Hay., 4:30 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 15....... at Ladysmith, 4 p.m.

Mon., Sept. 19....... at Spooner, 4 p.m.

Wed., Sept. 21...... HON at Botten’s, 9 a.m.

Wed., Sept. 28...... Regional at Spooner, 9 a.m.

Mon., Oct. 3.......... Sectional at Hay., 9 a.m.

Oct. 10-11............. State at Madison

Superior High School

2016 Girls Golf Schedule

Tue., Aug. 16.......... Barron Invite, 9 a.m.

Wed., Aug. 17........ Nemadji Invite, 9 a.m.

Thur., Aug. 18......... Hayward Invite, 3 p.m.

Mon., Aug. 22......... Cumberland Invite, 9 a.m.

Wed., Aug. 24........ Barron Invite, 9 a.m.

Fri., Aug. 26........... at Hayward, 3 p.m.

Mon., Aug. 29......... vs. NW and Spooner, 9 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 6.......... at Ladysmith, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 8......... at Northwestern Inv., 9 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 13........ vs. Chetek, 4:30 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 15....... vs. Hayward, Luck, 4 p.m.

Mon., Sept. 19....... at Spooner, 4 p.m.

Wed., Sept. 21...... HON at Botten’s, 9 a.m.

Wed., Sept. 28...... Hosting WIAA Reg., 9 a.m.

Oct. 3................... Sectional at ECM, 9 a.m.

Oct. 10-11............. State at Madison

2015 HON Results

                                    Dual        Tourn.     Total

Spooner......................... 15           16         31

Hayward........................ 15           14         29

Cumberland..................... 7            12         19

Ladysmith........................ 8            10         18

Northwestern................... 10            8          18

Superior........................... 5             6          11

Luck-Unity........................ 6             4          10

Chetek-Weyer................... 3             2           5

Barron............................. 0             0           0

NOTE: Superior’s roster was unavailable and will be posted at a later date.

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