Looking back

2018 conference champion

Osseo-Fairchild counted and 83s and three 84s in a 335 that gave the Thunder a 13-shot victory over Chippewa Falls McDonell/Eau Claire Regis at the Cloverbelt Conference championship at Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls.

2018 conference medalist

Altoona senior Grant Curtis shot 1-over-par 73 at Skyline GC and earned medalist honors at the Cloverbelt Conference Championship by 10 strokes over McDonell/Regis' Andrew Reis and Osseo-Fairchild's Cooper Ward.

Top 2018 WIAA finishes

Team: Osseo-Fairchild shot 332 at the WIAA Division 3 Luck/Frederic sectional and finished third, 12 shots behind the host Cardinals, who won their own sectional, and eight shots behind Eleva-Strum for the second state berth. Individual: Neillsville/Loyal sophomore Jared Weber shot 93-92 Osseo Fairchild senior Colin Sumner shot 80 and finished tied for ninth at the Division 3 Luck/Frederic sectional, one shot out of a playoff for the last of three individual berths in the state tournament. Meanwhile, Cloverbelt Conference champion Grant Curtis of Altoona shot 78 and finished sixth at the Division 2 Tomahawk sectional, two shots shy of earning a state berth.

Looking ahead

Preseason top three

Osseo-Fairchild; Neillsville/Loyal; Cadott.

Preseason all-conference

First team: Myles Fish, sr., Chippewa Falls McDonell/Eau Claire Regis; Charlie Larson, sr., Neilsville/Loyal; Drew Vold, sr., Osseo-Fairchild; Cooper Ward, sr., Osseo-Fairchild; Jared Weber, jr., Neillsville/Loyal.

Second team: Sawyer Anderson, jr., Osseo-Fairchild; Trevor Hammer, jr., Osseo-Fairchild; Ariel Heuer, jr., Fall Creek; Lucas Moseley, sr., Neillsville/Loyal; Quinn Brusso, sr., Neillsville-Loyal.

What to watch

Familiar faces bound at Osseo-Fairchild and Neillsville/Loyal, two teams that have high goals in 2019 and the personnel to meet them. At Osseo, senior Cooper Ward leads a quintet of returning golfers who that action late last season behind Colin Sumner, the team's lone senior. After tying for third at last year's Cloverbelt Conference Championship, Ward bounced back from a tough regional to shoot 82 at the Division 3 Luck/Frederic sectional where Osseo-Fairchild came within eight shots of a state berth. With four capable juniors behind Ward, coach Scott Vold hopes his team can vie for the program's 20th state berth and first since 2014. Vold knows that Neillsville/Loyal will give his Thunder all it can handle. The Warriors bring back six golfers who saw action on the varsity a year ago, including 2018 Division 2 state qualifier Jared Weber. Cadott, which returns five of its top six golfers from a year ago, and Chippewa Falls McDonell/Eau Claire Regis, which has a conference title contender in senior Myles Fish, look to be the two teams in the best position to battle for a spot in the top three in the Cloverbelt, but getting there will be no gimme. All nine schools that fielded full teams a year ago return at least two golfers from their 2018 postseason rosters and any significant individual improvements could have a profound impact on the way things sort themselves out at the Cloverbelt Championship.

Circle these dates

April 5 — Wisconsin Dells Invitational (Trappers Turn GC-Wisconsin Dells). April 9 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #1 (Hickory Hills GC-Eau Claire). April 12/13 — Baldwin-Woodville Invitational (Pheasant Hills GC-Hammond). April 15 — Adams-Friendship Invitational (Sand Valley Resort-Nekoosa). April 18 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #2 (Osseo GC).  April 22 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #3 (Lake Hallie GC-Chippewa Falls). April 23 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #4 (Neillsville CC). April 24 — Colfax Invitational (Whitetail GC-Colfax). April 25 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #4 (Whispering Pines GC-Cadott). April 27 — Sparta Invitational (River Run GC-Sparta). April 30 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #5 (Marshfield CC). May 2 — Adams-Friendship Invitational (Northern Bay Resort-Arkdale). May 3 — Hayward Invitational (Hayward GC). May 6 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #6 (Eau Claire G&CC). May 7 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #7 (Meadowview GC-Owen). May 9 — Cloverbelt Conference Mini-Meet #8 (Black River GC-Medford).  May 10 — Reedsburg Invitational (Reedsburg CC). May 11 — Cadott Invitational (Whispering Pines GC-Cadott). May 18 — Cloverbelt Conference Championship (Skyline GC-Black River Falls).

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.