Last year, the Waunakee girls’ golf team made their first team appearance at the WIAA State Meet in seven years. This year’s squad is looking to make it back-to-back.

The Warriors return four of their five varsity golfers from a year ago, making them the pre-season favorite to win their fourth straight Badger North Conference Championship.

“Winning conference is always a pretty big deal and certainly one of our top goals for the season,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Paul Miller, who’s in his 16th year leading the team.

The expectations – not just in the Badger North, but around the state – are high for this year’s Warriors; the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin has Waunakee ranked fifth in their preseason Division 1 poll.

At the top of Waunakee’s lineup are three golfers who earned all-conference recognition in 2018. Making up for the lost strokes of departed all-state golfer Sam Soulier will be a tall task, but the Warriors look to have all the pieces in place to do just that.

“This year, we are working on everyone remaining consistent and improving scored by two or three per player to help make up the difference,” said Miller. “We also need our younger players to step up to take hold of the fifth position and contribute as well.”

Leading the way is junior Aly Kinzel: an honorable mention all-state golfer last year. Kinzel made a significant jump from her freshman to sophomore seasons, and will be looked upon to lead the team this year.

She’s joined by fellow first-team Badger North golfer senior Brooke Ehle and second-teamer junior Sydney Grimm.

There’s no shortage of competition for the final two spots on Waunakee’s varsity team, with 21 golfers out for the team in 2019.

Among those shooting to crack the varsity lineup include senior Carsen Genda, juniors Elena Maier and Natalie Hoege and freshman Gabby Ziegler.

Should Waunakee be able to count on consistent performances from their fourth and fifth players, it’s likely they’ll live up to the lofty preseason expectations.

Waunakee opened up their season on Aug. 15 with a head to head contest with Beaver Dam, coming out on top by a total of 122 strokes. Kinzel turned in the lowest score on the day with a nine-hole score of 39, followed by Ehle and Grimm with 41, Hoege with a 45 and Genda with a 51.

The Warriors followed Thursday’s event with a Friday trip to Brown Deer Park Golf Course, where they turned in a top-10 finish of 363 at the 20-school invitational.

This time, it was Grimm who posted the team’s low score with an 18-hole total of 86. Kinzel was close behind with a 90, followed by Ehle with a 93, Maier with a 94 and Genda with a 104.

The Warriors continued their early season competition this past Monday and Tuesday in a two-day event at Fairways of Woodside Golf Course on Monday and Wanaki Golf Course on Tuesday. The results of this competition were not available for this week’s edition.

Waunakee will host their next contest on Friday at the Meadows of Sixmile Creek on Friday morning. Play is scheduled to start at 8 a.m.

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