Ethan Churchill, Sun Prairie

Ethan Churchill, Sun Prairie

Ethan Churchill might not be the most recognizable name on the Wisconsin boys golf scene.

He played No. 4 last spring on the Sun Prairie golf team. His Cardinals made it to the WIAA Division 1 Janesville Parker sectional, but fell short in their bid for the program's first state appearance since 2010 and second since 1995.

But the Sun Prairie senior's recent commitment to the men's golf program on the rise at Madison College is a timely reminder — many high school seniors around the state are making college decisions this month and next — that one doesn't have to have a deep resume to play at the next level, just a deep passion for the game and a proven commitment to want to get better.

"The goal my golf career starting in high school was to play collegiate golf one day," Churchill wrote in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "But entering my senior year I had not been highly recruited and the schools that I was recruited (by) I didn't feel were the best option for me. So I my plan was to go to college for strictly academics and not to play golf."

That's when Madison College came calling. Looking to grow its program under first-year head coach Glenn Eichstedt and his son Adam, who is the WolfPack's assistant coach and an assistant in the athletic communications department, reached out to Churchill and made him part of what is a solid incoming freshman class featuring A.J. Gray of Milton and Matt Hach of New Glarus.

"The school is close to my home, is affordable, and provides the academic qualities of a great institution," wrote Churchill, whose visit to campus was led by the two golf coaches. "I had a great first impression of them, it was something I hadn't felt with the other schools that had recruited me. As I walked around the building, I saw all of the cool opportunities that students had within the school and how unique of an atmosphere it feels like. For me I felt at home and welcomed, the whole visit I knew that the coaches wanted what's best for me.

"As we got near the end of the visit, we talked more about the golf experience that I was going to have, what's unique to Madison college is you get to play right away, where other colleges you have to wait until later in your college career to even get the opportunity. It has everything you would expect from a four-year (school) in a two-year (school), and even more."

Churchill, who plans to major in business, tied for 22nd at the Big Eight Conference Championship last spring with a round of 87 at Evansville GC. He then tied for 12th at the WIAA Division 1 DeForest regional with an 85, helping Sun Prairie finish second and advance to sectionals where he struggled to a 98 as the Cardinals placed seventh.

"As a golfer I see myself fitting into the program with my skills, and my attitude," Churchill wrote. "I see myself growing as a person and a golfer. As both coaches have already told me, character is a huge aspect in growing as an individual outside of the classroom. I know both coaches will help my golf game as well, as I feel as a player they can take me to the next level.

"As the current team is going to nationals, I see the other players who have committed to Madison College with me and I expect and hope to be back there next year. As we have new coaches my plan is to help the team start a new tradition, a successful one."

Boys Class of 2019

The Wisconsin.Golf class-by-class rankings are compiled by digital editor Rob Hernandez based on an analysis of tournament results and overall impact of golfers within their class. Opinions and insight on golfers in this class are welcome and will be used for future rankings; updates on college decisions are also welcome. They can be shared via email at robhernandezdotgolf@gmail.com.  

No. First name Last name High School College choice Nov. 2017 Nov. 2016
1 Brock Hlinak Kaukauna Queens College (N.C.) 1 1
2 Jack Blair Milwaukee Marquette Brown University T1 3
3 Matthew Raab Hartland Arrowhead St. Thomas (Minn.) 6 10
4 Drew Sagrillo Milwaukee Marquette Dominican (Calif.) 8 NR
5 Blake Wisdom Lake Geneva Badger Bucknell University 15 23
6 Austin Thyes Sheboygan North Wisconsin (academics) 19 25
7 Zak Kulka Beaver Dam UW-Green Bay 9 9
8 Danny Sanicki Menomonee Falls UW-Parkside 16 18
9 Lukas Heckmann Lakeside Lutheran University of New Orleans 3 14
10 James Gilmore Madison Edgewood Miami (Ohio) 20 17
11 Tyler Cleaves Kaukauna 4 4
12 Sean Murphy Waunakee UW-Eau Claire 7 8
13 Max Schmidtke Sheboygan North Illinois-Springfield 23 7
14 Connor Brown Union Grove UW-Eau Claire 25 NR
15 Jack Anderson Brookfield Central Wisconsin (academics) 5 5
16 Doyle Kelly Fond du Lac Springs Marquette (academics) 10 12
17 Andrew Clement Pewaukee Wisconsin (academics) 11 2
18 Steven Sanicki Menomonee Falls UW-Parkside 12 22
19 Ethan Carrick Sun Prairie UW-Eau Claire 13 15
20 Mason Schulz Mukwonago 26 19
21 James Johnson Greendale NR NR
22 Evan Thomas Stevens Point UW-La Crosse (academics) 31 11
23 Billy Peterson Eau Claire Memorial Augsburg (Minn.) 17 20
24 Zach Bernhardt Eau Claire Memorial Wisconsin (academics) 18 NR
25 Kyle Wille Edgerton Iowa Central CC 36 NR
26 Cody Dirks Holmen Iowa Central CC NR NR
27 Nolan Ruffing Franklin UW-La Crosse (academics) 21 13
28 Ian Behringer Manitowoc Roncalli UW-Green Bay NR NR
29 Kasey Casper Coleman St. Norbert 14 NR
30 Joe Forsting Edgerton Iowa Central CC 37 NR
31 Zach Walsh Brookfield East NR NR
32 Kody Koehn Kettle Moraine NR NR
33 Grant Wininger Racine St. Catherine's NR NR
34 Carter Schmidt Germantown NR NR
35 Matthew Hach New Glarus Madison College NR NR
36 AJ Gray Milton Madison College 27 NR
37 Austin Gaby Verona UW-Stout NR NR
38 Ben Baur Marshfield NR NR
39 Taylor Burger Superior NR NR
40 Hunter Robinson Unity Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) NR NR
41 Max Schneider Neenah Wisconsin (club golf) 32 NR
42 Jacob Schlosser Kewaskum Workforce (electrician) 22 NR
43 Ben Peloquin Schofield D.C. Everest UW-Parkside NR NR
44 Adam Lazaroff Lakeland (Minocqua) UW-Stout NR NR
45 Ethan Wilkins Lake Country Lutheran Illinois Wesleyan NR NR
46 Joe Mazurek Germantown NR NR
47 Boomer Zierath Madison Abunant Life/Country Day Wisconsin (academics) 33 NR
48 Jack Rollins Madison Abunant Life/Country Day Wisconsin (academics) 33 NR
49 Bryce Peters Winneconne Northern Michigan 29 NR
50 Blake Zadra Rice Lake 30 21
HM Ethan Churchill Sun Prairie Madison College NR NR
HM Mason Polivka Muskego Bryant & Stratton NR NR
HM Vince Omernik Amherst UW-Whitewater (club golf) NR NR
HM Connor Kolb Brookfield Central Wisconsin (academics) NR NR
HM Dean Yun Brookfield Central Wisconsin (acadmics) NR NR
HM Spenser Stern Neenah UNC-Wilmington (club golf) NR NR
HM Brad Buechel Kewaskum Univ. of Dubuque (Iowa) NR NR
HM Kasen Fager Mount Horeb Edgewood College NR NR
HM Jeremy Toutant Columbus Edgewood College NR NR
HM Noah Anderson Baraboo Edgewood College NR NR

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.