Bridget McCarthy, Madison Memorial

Madison Memorial golfer Bridget McCarthy has committed to play college golf for NCAA Division III UW-La Crosse.

Internet research introduced Bridget McCarthy to UW-La Crosse and its 3-year-old women's golf program, namely its roster and coach Dave Taebel.

Word of mouth, however, would ultimately convince the Madison Memorial senior to give the emerging NCAA Division III program her full attention.

"One of my friends who played for the Verona golf team, Andrea Schleeper, committed to the team (in 2020) and only had great things to say about the program," McCarthy wrote last week in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf after choosing the Eagles over interest from UW-Stout, a perennial Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's golf power. "I was very thankful to be considered by a well-known school with a great golf program. But I felt that UW-L was a better match for me athletically and academically."

The latter area was a major selling point for McCarthy, a three-time WIAA Division 1 sectional qualifier whose senior season was postponed until March by COVID-19. She wants to pursue a career in a health field and said UW-La Crosse offers multiple ways for her to get there.

"La Crosse has amazing programs for my field of interest," McCarthy wrote. "I initially wanted to major in Psychology, but feel switching to Biology would be more in my field of interest and knowledge."

McCarthy, who is ranked No. 22 in Wisconsin.Golf's girls Class of 2021 state rankings, is part of what is shaping up to be a healthy in-state recruiting class for Taebel, the former Stoughton boys and girls golf coach who has built the Eagles program from the ground up. Appleton Xavier's Lauren Haen, Brookfield Central's Erin Rosencrantz and Portage's Sophie Denure are also known to have given Taebel oral commitments to join his program this fall.

In McCarthy, the Eagles are getting a golfer who showed a glimpse of her potential last summer when she shot 76 at Odana Hills Golf Course in Madison to finish second to UW-Green Bay recruit Caylie Kotlowski of Stoughton by one shot in a WPGA Junior Tour event. McCarthy also finished tied for 39th at the WPGA Junior Championship on rounds of 90-86, a 30-stroke improvement over her 2019 showing in Wisconsin's largest junior golf tournament.

"I have not been able to meet many of the girls on the team due to COVID-19, but we will eventually meet on a Zoom call," McCarthy wrote. "Overall, from what I have seen and heard about the team, I think I will fit in pretty well and (I'm) super-excited to meet the other girls. I cannot wait to be able to contribute to this team and be involved in their team traditions. I want to work to be the best golfer I can be and make amazing memories with my teammates."

Especially Schleeper, whose endorsement of the fledgling UW-La Crosse women's golf program got the ball rolling for McCarthy to join the cause.

"I decided to contact Mr. Taebel ... to show my interest in the school and his golf team," wrote McCarthy, who sent letters to 10 out-of-state schools that went unanswered. "He had shown interest back and came out to watch me in a tournament. A few weeks later, I went to the campus where she showed me around and gave me details about what it was like as a student-athlete at UW-L.

"I fell in love with the campus and all it had to offer me. A few weeks later, Mr. Taebel offered me a spot on his team and I was ecstatic! I was so excited to tell everyone who has supported me through my golf career. I called him back a week later and verbally committed to the team.

"It was amazing that I could now play the sport I love at a school that I feel best fits me."

Girls Class of 2021

College selections on this list are updated regularly. To share updates on the decisions of high school seniors, email Rob Hernandez at

No. First name Last name High school Nov.
1, Jo Baranczyk Bay Port 1 1 1 1 North Dakota State
tie, Grace Suter Oconomowoc 6* 9* 7* 20* Loyola (Ill.)
3, Elise Hoven Cedarburg 2 2 2 2 North Dakota State
4, Caylie Kotlowski Stoughton 3 3 3 5 UW-Green Bay
5, Kallie Lux Janesville Craig 6 9 4 3 UW-Whitewater
6, Glenna Sanderson Middleton 4 8 8 NR TBA (academics)
7, Jolie Guyette De Pere 8 5 25 NR Mesa (Ariz.) CC
8, Reagan Stuke Kettle Moraine 10 17 NR NR Tennessee Tech
9, Paige Hillman Hudson 5 NR NR NR Sioux Falls (S.D.)
10, Amanda Karvala New Berlin Eisenhower 13 7 15 NR Waldorf (Iowa)
11, Alyssa Schmidt Oregon 7 21 11 NR Taylor (Ind.)
12, Ellie Behring Oak Creek 12 11 20 15 Winona (Minn.) State
13, Grace Miller Oshkosh North 11 NR NR NR
14, Lauren Haen Appleton Xavier 15 12 9 10 UW-La Crosse
15, Sydney Grimm Waunakee 23 24 24 NR UW-Stout
16, Aly Kinzel Waunakee 18 14 7 4 South Carolina (club golf)
17, Jilli Newman Madison Memorial 40 NR NR NR Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.)
18, Kyley Wipper Brookfield Central 27 NR NR NR TBA (academics)
19, Maya Heckmann Lakeside Lutheran 16 10 14 13
20, Faith Flynn Green Bay NEW Luth. 9 NR NR NR
21, Madeline Kiley Kimberly 30 NR NR NR UW-Stout
tie, Grace Weiss Milton/Shattuck St. Mary's 24 18 NR NR St. Norbert
22, Bridget McCarthy Madison Memorial 34 25 25 18 UW-La Crosse
24, Ashley Stanislawski Catholic Memorial 29 NR NR NR TBA (academics)
25, Jaden Woiwode River Falls 26 NR NR NR UW-Eau Claire
26, Veronica Parco Union Grove 20 13 12 19 Wisconsin (academics)
27, Zjeneexa Vang Sheboygan North/South 17 NR NR NR TBA (academics)
28, CJ Romero Brookfield Central 21 NR NR NR Northern Michigan (basketball)
29, Kylie Lanza Hartland Arrowhead 22 NR NR NR Boston College (academics)
30, Erin Rosencrantz Brookfield Central 28 NR NR NR UW-La Crosse
31, Isa Pierri Glendale Nicolet 36 6 16 NR
32, Amber Nguyen Onalaska 38 20 10 8
33, Jada Chang Hartland Arrowhead 31 NR NR NR
34, Natalie Hoege Waunakee NR NR NR NR Carthage College
35, Reagan Moisson Milton NR NR NR NR TBA (academics)
36, Allie Gosenheimer Brookfield Central NR NR NR NR
37, Grace Jaeger Madison Edgewood 25 15 6 9
38, Claire Fugate Franklin NR NR NR NR
39, Caitlyn Hegenbarth Madison Edgewood 14 4 5 6 TBA (academics)
40, Jackie Wallin Ladysmith NR NR NR NR
41, Courtney Draeger Jefferson 32 NR NR NR Viterbo University
42, Ana Kielley Madison Memorial 33 NR NR NR
43, Taylor Peper Sheboygan North/South 19 NR NR NR TBA (academics)
44, Sophie Denure Portage 39 23 23 NR UW-La Crosse
45, Izzie Mort Whitefish Bay 35 16 21 16
46, Leah Minchk Muskego 37 19 NR NR
47, Jasmine Yang Wausau East/West NR NR NR NR
48, Megan Bonikowske Stevens Point NR NR NR NR UW-Stevens Point
49, Haley Prudhomme Menomonee Falls NR NR NR NR Carthage College
50, Brooke Vandeberg Appleton North NR NR NR NR
HM Zoey Cruz-Eisenbraun Sun Prairie NR NR NR 17 Marian University
* = Class of 2020

More from this Section