Led by Kiernan Smith, the Northwestern High School girls golf team is seeking to advance to its second straight WIAA Division 2 State Tournament.
Smith, who finished in sixth place at last year’s state tournament, is the lone senior returning from a team that finished second in the Heart O’ North Conference with a record of 11-5.
The Tigers went on to finish third in the WIAA regional and advanced to state with a second-place finish at sectionals.
Kiernan, who won the sectional champion after a one-hole playoff with Hayward’s Emily Neff, finished with a two-day score of 166 at state. She was sitting in fourth place after the first day thanks to a round of 79.
Xavier's Clair Phakamad finished in first place at 152.
Joining Smith in the varsity lineup will be juniors McKenzie Tuura (36th place at state) and Claire Jarman (38th at state); sophomore Sydney Anderson; and freshmen Alison Raboin, Reese Smith and Katie Kyle.
“While our team strength is our experience, our downfall will be our lack of depth,” NHS coach Scott Janigo said. “With our experience, we expect to be competitive and one of the teams to beat in the HON.”
The Tigers finished second in the HON last season behind Hayward, which they shared the title with in 2017.
Smith was the fifth Tiger to advance to state since the WIAA split girls golf into two divisions in 2003. Kendra Mak finished 29th in 2016; Emily Stauty, 34th in 2008; Katie Pearson, 10th in 2006; and Kayleen Alexson tied for 11th in 2004.
Paige Bratland also advanced to state in 2000 when all golfers played in one division.
As a team at state, the Tigers finished fourth in 2005 (Kayleen Alexson, Hilary Botten, Danielle Landgreen, Maggie Lattery, Katie Pearson) and 13th in 2002 (Samantha Abrahamson, Ashley Alexson, Tara Corbin, Ashley Johnson, Carey Kroll),
TIGER TALES: This is Janigo’s third season as coach of the Tigers. … Key players lost from last year’s squad are Lita Lind and Chloe Larson. … Janigo’s volunteer assistant coach is Larry Lind.