October 14 and 15 are notoriously tough days to score a tee time at University Ridge.

On Tuesday, the Waunakee girls’ golf team earned their tee time at University Ridge, qualifying for the WIAA State Tournament for the second straight year.

WIAA Sectional

(The Oaks GC)

After a one-day delay and change in venue, the Warriors finally got underway at their sectional meet at the Oaks Tuesday morning. In order to earn their spot at state, Waunakee needed to place in the top two among the eight teams in their sectional.

Paired with Sun Prairie and Jefferson, the Warriors quickly put some distance between themselves and both the Cardinals and the Eagles. Led by Carsen Genda’s front-nine score of 41, Waunakee held an 18-stroke lead over Sun Prairie and 30-stroke lead over Jefferson halfway through with a total of 176 strokes.

Teeing off after the Warriors, however, were Waunakee’s top competition for the two available spots at state: Middleton, Madison Memorial and Stoughton. Knowing those three were behind them, Waunakee’s golfers needed a strong finish.

Over the course of the back nine, Middleton pulled away from the pack, leaving just one spot at University Ridge open.

Both the Warriors and Spartans separated themselves from Stoughton, making it a two-team race for the final spot. Set to finish first, Waunakee’s final six holes proved to push the Warriors over the top.

Through 12 holes, Waunakee was two strokes behind Memorial. The Warriors then went on a tear in the final six holes.

“Something great had to happen,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Paul Miller. “The first was Carsen's outstanding personal record of 88. Talk about a great time to really show up! After that was Brooke [Ehle]'s very steady and consistent 91. Sydney [Grimm] made an outstanding par on the very challenging 18th, gaining almost three strokes on nearly every other competitor right there. Sydney gave Aly [Kinzel] a great pep talk after the 12th hole, and Aly responded after a tough front nine. Our focus was to try our best not to worry about the final results, but to play our game and let the final result take care of itself. It did.”

Led by their No. 1 and No. 2 golfers Kinzel and Grimm, Waunakee outscored by Spartans by nine strokes over the final six holes to secure their University Ridge tee time. Kinzel and Grimm combined to record either a birdie or par six times on the final six holes.

When it was all said and done, Waunakee’s score of 357 bested Memorial by seven strokes for the second spot.

“After all five girls were in and we totaled our score of 357, we realized that that is where we've been all season,” added Miller. “Only this time, we had a different combination of scores that counted from different levels of play. From steady and consistent with Sydney and Brooke, to a comeback back nine for Aly, to Carsen's dazzling front nine and solid back nine." 

Middleton took first overall with an 18-hole score of 324.

For the Warriors, Grimm was the lowest scorer for the day, turning in a score of 85 to place 10th. Genda tied for 14th with a score of 88, followed by Ehle in a 16th-place tie of 91 and Kinzel tied for 20th with a 93. Elena Maier’s 105 tied for 34th overall.

Now with a week to prepare for state, Waunakee's tee time at University Ridge is scheduled at 8:50 a.m. Monday morning. 

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