Jessica Guiser, Hartland | 2022 U.S. Girls Junior Qualifying

Hartland's Jessica Guiser watches her tee shot during the 2022 U.S. Girls Junior Championship qualifying at Blackhawk CC in Madison.

Her high school golf career started amid a pandemic, when Jessica Guiser and others her age couldn't be certain what tomorrow would bring.

Against that backdrop, it probably felt like a weight lifted from her shoulders last week when the Hartland golfer made certain what the fall of 2024 will bring — the start of her college career at the University of Florida.

Guiser, the No. 1 golfer in Wisconsin.Golf's girls Class of 2024 state rankings who has spent the last two years at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., announced her decision to play for the Gators via an Instagram post Thursday. In a telephone interview with Wisconsin.Golf, Guiser declined to name the other two schools she was considering before committing to play for the nine-time Southeastern Conference and two-time NCAA Division I champions, but said both were schools from the Big Ten Conference.

According to program records, Guiser will become just the fourth Wisconsin golfer to compete for the Gators women. The others were Madison natives Linda (Stack) Hughes (1975-78) and Nancy (Feifarek) Cohn (1975-76) and West Bend native Mary Hafeman (1978-79) more than 40 years ago.

"Location didn't really matter to me initially; it was really whatever the best fit was," said Guiser, who said she emailed between 60 and 75 coaches all over the country when she was a sophomore to initiate the recruiting process on her end. "Weather is always a plus, but it wasn't a major deciding factor. It was more where I felt the coaches and the people could help me achieve success and where I felt was the best fit for me.

"I always knew about the Gators and their success so I'm just really grateful for the opportunity to represent them and play for them."

Indeed, Guiser's decision continues a junior golf journey that has seen steady, incremental growth since it began with a series of victories on the Milwaukee County Par-3 Tour in 2015.

Her rise in the Wisconsin PGA Junior ranks picked up steam four years later with victories at the Morgan Stanley Tour Championship and the Wisconsin Junior Girls Championship and reached another level in 2020 with three more victories. None was more significant than the WIAA state championship at Blackwolf Run in Kohler where she edged Cedarburg's Elise Hoven in a playoff to become the first freshman since 2009 to win the Division 1 state title. 

However, Guiser said Florida coach Emily Glaser and assistant Beth Wu didn't show an interest in her until last summer, after Guiser qualified for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship in Bowling Green, Ky. She shot 73-76 and reached the match-play portion of the championship, where she lost in the first round 3 and 2 to eventual runner-up Gianna Clemente of Estero, Fla., the No. 5 ranked golfer in the nation according to Junior Golf Scoreboard (Guiser is ranked No. 209).

"They texted me after that," Guiser said. "I emailed them back with my results and they like came back with 'Yeah, we watched you play. We were impressed by you.'"

Guiser continued to gain their attention in December when she finished third at the IMG Optimist Tournament of Champions near Orlando. She made her official campus visit to Gainesville shortly after that where the mutual interest grew.

"The visit was very nice," said Guiser, who hasn't settled on a major but expects it to be "something math or science" as her focus. "The coaches put in a good amount of effort to really allow me to get a nice perspective of what their campus is and what it would be like if I were to go there. They set me up with a tour guide to get an idea of campus life outside of golf. It was nice to see the effort they put in to let me see the golf side and the campus-life side."

Guiser didn't see anything that she didn't like or hasn't experienced at IMG.

Glaser, whose team is ranked 26th nationally coming out of the fall season in the Division I poll, is carrying a seven-player roster this season, with three seniors and one fifth-year player. The Gators will add three golfers during the 2023 recruiting cycle — one from France, one from Spain and one from Michigan, a convergence of cultures that Guiser has grown familiar with during her time at IMG.

"I do have experience with a lot of international students," Guiser said. "I think it's a great plus. I like learning about their cultures, their food and their background is interesting. I love to experience different cultures."

At the same time, Guiser will always appreciate her roots in Wisconsin and the competition that drove her to improve and work to earn her opportunity with the Gators.

Much of that competition could be found in her own backyard. Guiser is the fourth golfer with ties to the Harland area to earn Power 5 scholarship opportunities in the last five years, joining former Arrowhead golfers Emily Lauterbach (Wisconsin) and Piercen Hunt (Illinois) and 2022 Wisconsin PGA Junior boys player of the year William Harned, a 2024 University of Wisconsin commit who attends high school in Connecticut but spends his summers in Nashotah and, like Guiser, plays out of Chenequa CC.

"(Harned) is extremely hard-working; he's out there like morning to night and plays multiple rounds of 18 a day," Guiser said. "Emily obviously went to Arrowhead and I've played a couple of rounds with her. Piercen I wasn't as familiar with, but he's someone who has gone on to have great success. 

"Following those people and seeing them inspired me to continue to work hard and keep pursuing it."

Girls Class of 2024

No. First name Last name High school College Nov.
1, Jessica Guiser Hartland (IMG Academy) Florida 1 1
2, Izzi Stricker Waunakee Wisconsin 6 7
3, Kylie Walker Westosha Central 3 5
4, Madison Haugen Brookfield East 6 4
5, Katelyn Walker Westosha Central 4 8
6, Mya Nicholson Janesville Craig Northern Iowa (basketball) 5 3
7, Treva Dodd Brookfield (IMG Academy) 2 2
8, Vivian Cressman Middleton 9 10
9, Lauren Lupinek Oconomowoc Western Michigan 15 NR
10, Adalyn Johnston Bay Port 6 5
11, Jordan Shipshock Waunakee 11 9
12, Ellen Close Middleton 20 NR
13, Payton Schmidt Jefferson 10 12
14, Brianna Kirsch Lancaster 11 11
15, Ava Pesha Somerset 17 NR
16, Lexi Manteufel Union Grove NR NR
17, Sarah Ramsden Beloit Memorial 13 NR
tie, Kate Krueger Divine Savior Holy Angels (Milwaukee) 14 13
19, Chloe Brown Westosha Central 16 NR
20, Norah Berken Kaukauna NR NR
21, Ava Beranek Bay Port 19 NR
22, Olivia Grothaus Hudson NR NR
23, Ava Frederiksen Stevens Point 23 15
24, Kadyn Peery The Prairie School (Racine) 22 14
25, Jenna Schumacher Kimberly 18 NR
26, Mahlia McCane River Falls 25 NR
27, Drew Hoffer Oregon 24 NR
28, Lia Maxwell Hartland NR NR
29, Alyson Reier Hayward NR NR
30, Ella Fager Mount Horeb NR NR
31, Riley Wood Green Bay Preble co-op NR NR
32, Sophia Baek Notre Dame (Green Bay) NR NR
33, Vivian Ninham Pulaski NR NR
34, Bethany Vidruk Milton NR NR
35, Georgia Volley Waunakee NR NR
36, Lucy Nielsen Fond du Lac NR NR
37, Krista Longden Pewaukee NR NR
38, Payton Morton Wilmot NR NR
39, Madison Engebose Cedarburg NR NR
40, Michelle Wallin Ladysmith NR NR

Rob started covering the state's golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. He joined Killarney Golf Media in 2015 and helped develop Wisconsin.Golf's extensive coverage of junior, high school, college, amateur and pro golf.

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