Player of the week
Abby Cavaiani, Kettle Moraine. It has been a long time since Wisconsin girls golf has seen someone make the kind of jump that this Missouri State recruit has made. One year after shooting 79-77 at University Ridge GC and tying for sixth at the WIAA Division 1 state meet, Cavaiani comes into the tournament as the state's hottest golfer. After making all kinds of historic noise with her 12-under-par 60 at the Classic 8 Conference meet, she has cruised through regionals (71) and sectionals (70) in a combined 3-under-par and established herself as a serious title contender at U-Ridge, where — weather permitting — divisional (140) and overall (138) scoring records could be in jeopardy.
Team of the week
Franklin. WIAA sectionals can be the most unforgiving competition of the entire year on the junior golf calendar and no one knows that more than the Sabers. A year ago, they shot a very respectable 333 at the Division 1 Mequon Homestead sectional and missed winning the team title by two shots. However, Franklin also missed out on a trip to state after falling in a team playoff 14-15 to Brookfield Central. This year, the Sabers put together one of the most impressive team performances of the state's nine sectionals. Four golfers broke 90 led by medalist Courtney Matschke (76) as eighth-ranked Franklin shot a 321 and edged No. 3 Brookfield Central by four shots on the Falcons' home course for the program's second state berth.
Duo of the week
Emily Lauterbach and Gianna Gastrow, Hartland Arrowhead. Lauterbach, the state's reigning Division 1 champion, shot 75 (losing in a playoff for medalist honors to Speedy Kent of Mequon Homestead) and Gastrow, a senior, shot 76 to help the defending state champion Warhawks fire the lowest winning sectional score (309) in the state by 12 shots. In fact, we might want to re-name this the Fab Four of the week and let Arrowhead seniors Sarah Ernst (78) and Skyler Phillips share in it as well.
Conference of the week
Classic 8. Shocker, right? Fond du Lac sectional champion Hartland Arrowhead, the defending Division 1 state champion, and Mukwonago sectional champion Kettle Moraine have been trending toward a showdown to remember at University Ridge GC most of the season. Arrowhead overcame Cavaiani's 60 at the Classic 8 Conference meet and edged the Lasers 302-310 and it could be another one of those battles at the state meet. Since going their separate ways for the postseason, Arrowhead has shot 320-309 to earn its 18th state berth while Kettle Moraine has shot 308-336 to get to University Ridge for the ninth time. They will be joined at state by Waukesha Catholic Memorial, which made the most of its drop from Division 1 to Division 2 and this week edged Fox Valley Lutheran 354-357 to win its own sectional in a preview of what could be another showdown at the state meet.
Rookie of the week
Jo Baranczyk, Bay Port. The freshman, who will probably retire this award come Tuesday afternoon, turned in another eye-popping performance by shooting 4-over-par 76 at Thornberry Creek at Oneida GC — home to the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic — and winning the Green Bay Notre Dame sectional by six shots over Waupaca senior Markie Ash. If you are scoring along at home, Baranczyk has shot 75-76 during the postseason and won by a combined margin of 17 shots.
Shot of the week
Olivia Oehrlein, Sun Prairie. We spent most of the day Wednesday camped out next to the 17th tee at Edelweiss Chalet CC watching most of the 48 golfers in the Division 1 Verona regional handle a tough front center hole location on the 96-yard par 3 with a green that slopes severely from back to front. The hole played to a 4.29 average, but Oehrlein — a first-year varsity golfer and the daughter of University of Wisconsin women's golf coach Todd Oehrlein — was the only one in the field to make birdie. She knocked her tee shot about two feet below the cup and made the putt. She didn't win a skin, but hopefully she at least collected on some from the old man.
Comeback of the week
Haley Meyers, Somerset. One week after sharing this award with her teammates for their tremendous work in rebounding from a 459 at the Middle Border Conference Tournament to win the WIAA Division 2 Baldwin-Woodville regional with a 394, the Somerset sophomore gets the award all to herself. Her team continued its unlikely postseason run by claiming its first state berth with a runner-up finish at the Luck co-op sectional, but Meyers part in the feat was nothing short of exceptional. She shaved 20 strokes off her regional score by shooting a 77, capping her day with a birdie on the final hole to edge Winona State recruit Savanna Anderson of sectional champion Stanley-Boyd for medalist honors. The Spartans edged Ladysmith by four strokes for the second state berth.
Stat of the week
Participation. There were 438 recorded scores in Division 1 and 260 in Division 2 during last week's WIAA regional competition, meaning there were 698 golfers in this year's WIAA postseason. If you are among the 78 golfers to qualify for state in Division 1 and 39 to advance in Division 2, you are among the top 15 percent of the field in this year's tournament series. Pat yourselves on the back.
What's the Powerball jackpot at? After an average-to-lackluster performance in projecting WIAA regional success, we fared considerably better at the sectional level. We connected on 11 of the 12 teams advancing to the state tournament in Division 1 and five of the six advancing in Division 2. Individually, we correctly identified seven of 18 state qualifiers in Division 1 and four of nine in Division 2 and received bonus points for two individual qualifiers in Division 1 and one in Division 2 whose teams we expected to advance to the state tournament.