The Sun Prairie girls golf team is primed and ready to make a splash in 2019. After finishing fifth in the Big Eight Conference, the Cardinals not only want to compete with the upper echelon, but challenge for a championship.
And with an increase in numbers — from 22 to 30 players — there is a definite drive to this year’s team.
“We’re excited,” said second-year head coach Shana Tiltrum. “Our returning players have really worked hard during the summer, such as taking private lessons, and have all been out there playing.
“There’s a lot of potential.”
Veterans Sydney O’Hearn, Natalie Tiltrum, Grace Holmes and Zoey Cruz lead the team into 2019.
O’Hearn earned second-team Big Eight Conference honors.
O’Hearn carded a 91 during the Big Eight Conference Meet, then went on to shoot an 88 at the WIAA Division 1 Middleton Regional, but missed out by two spots at advancing to sectionals.
“We have high hopes for her and I know what her goal is — reaching state — and I hope she achieves that goal,” said Tiltrum. “It would be great to see a Sun Prairie girl going to state.”
The senior also was spectacular in the classroom, being named a Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin (GCAW) Academic All-State honoree in 2018.
“The whole team is so strong academically,” said Tiltrum. “They take their studies seriously — as a team we have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 — they are students first and athletes second.”
Natalie Tiltrum, a senior, also was named a GCAW Academic All-State honoree, for her talents both on the course and in the classroom.
“I know that she has worked real hard, so I’m hoping to see the benefits,” Tiltrum said of her daughter.
Replacing GCAW All-State golfers Morgan Jambard and Olivia Oehrlein will be a tough task, though.
Also playing this season are seniors Grave Holmes, Abbey Headington and Alyssa Benzine; juniors Abby Ellingboe, Cora Gloede, Anna Huff, Abby Rahn, Casey Cole, Ela Becker, Allysun Gillham, Steffi Hoffmann, Abigail Thompson, Daisy Roybal and Riley Ledford; and sophomores Alex Maerz, Nicole Czaplewski, Halle Suchomel, Bella Rizzuto, Lexi Veldkamp and Cheyenne Whitlow.
Tiltrum also is excited about several freshmen coming into the program.
“There’s tons of potential coming up,” she stated. “There’s lots of freshmen that have experience and have been taking the sport very serious already at a young age.”
Cruz is in her third year of varsity golf.
“Her strength is off the tee, so I imagine she’s going to be as strong as ever,” said Tiltrum of Cruz.
Those incoming freshmen include Maddie Raimer, Margo Woldt, Lucy Strey, Rebecca Perko and Vanessa Veith and twins Sophia Royle and Isabelle Royle.
Middleton remain on top in the Big Eight Conference, but Sun Prairie wants to be in the same breath at season’s end.
“Middleton is always tough to beat, but right now I love that we’re able to compete against Verona and Oregon. Last year we gave them a little bit of a run for their money, and I see that happening again this year,” Tiltrum said.
The Cardinals opened the 2019 season earlier today in the Brown Deer Invitational at Brown Deer Golf Course. They play their home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 10 hosting Beloit Memorial and Verona.
Sun Prairie will host the 2019 Big Eight Conference Meet at Sun Prairie Golf course on Thursday, Sept. 26.