The Wisconsin PGA Junior Tour has done an exceptional job in identifying the best junior golfers in a given class long before they get to high school.
Seldom has it identified an emerging star as early as it did Jo Baranczyk, whose reputation as a competitor preceded her to the high school ranks.
The Bay Port freshman first appeared on a WPGA Junior leaderboard in 2011 at age eight as she was heading into the third grade. She shot 69 in a WPGA Futures Tour event at Ridgeway CC in Neenah and, the following summer, Baranczyk was playing a steady diet of Futures Tour and Junior Tour events.
Five years later, Baranczyk burst onto the high school scene with an impact not felt in Wisconsin in nearly a decade. She led the Pirates to their first WIAA state tournament berth and her fifth-place finish was the best by a freshman since Emily Joers of the Waukesha co-op won the state title in 2009.
Her body of work made Baranczyk an obvious choice as the No. 1 ranked golfer in Wisconsin.Golf's inaugural ranking for the girls Class of 2021. Her first major tournament victory, at the Crusade Fore A Cure Tournament at Maple Bluff CC, turned heads and she kept turning them the rest of the fall.
She was the only golfer to break 80 at the Fox River Classic Conference Tournament, shooting 79 to win her first FRCC title by seven shots. Baranczyk shot 75 at Brown County GC near Green Bay to win the WIAA Division 1 Bay Port regional by 11 shots and then shot 76 at Thornberry Creek at Oneida to win the Green Bay Notre Dame sectional by six strokes.
Cedarburg's Elise Hoven, Janesville Craig's Kallie Lux, Waunakee's Aly Kinzel and Stoughton's Caylie Kotlowski rounded out the top five. Madison Edgewood had two golfers in the next five -- No. 6 Caitlyn Hegenbarth and No. 9 Grace Jager -- in a class that had enough depth to stretch the rankings to the top 20 instead of the usual top 15.