D2 (2) Grace Welch Edgewood medalist.jpg

Grace Welch | Edgewood | 2019 WIAA Girls Championship | Medalist

MADISON — Chad Salay and his Prescott girls golf team were newbies to the WIAA state tournament this week, but the Cardinals coach knew the drill Tuesday when it came to handing out praise after the Division 2 awards.

Tip your cap to Madison Edgewood and look ahead to next year.

Prescott became the 10th different school to finish second to the powerhouse Crusaders, who rolled to their 15th WIAA state championship on a cold, cloudy and increasingly breezy day at University Ridge Golf Course. In winning its 13th Division 2 state title, Edgewood shot a final-round 355 to finish off a 71-stroke victory over the Cardinals, who held off Middle Border Conference rival St. Croix Central by 17 strokes to walk away with the runner-up trophy.

It marked only the second time in their 15 triumphs at University Ridge that Edgewood won with a score greater than 700. However, it was also only the fifth time that a Crusaders championship team included the state medalist.

Senior Grace Welch closed out a wire-to-wire victory with a final-round 82 and a 14-over-par 158 total, giving her an eight-shot victory over Prescott's Ava Salay (85). Osseo-Fairchild/Fall Creek senior Ariel Heuer, who spent the last three years on the Fall Creek boys team, finished another shot back at 167.

"I followed Grace back (as a freshman) and it's been fun to see her get over the hump and win the state title," Chad Salay said of Welch, who had two third-place finishes and a fifth over the last three years. "I would've like to have had my player win, but (Welch) has been so close. I'm happy for her."

Welch checked all the boxes for a successful week except one: She didn't break 80 both days, firing a pair of 41s that featured two double-bogeys, seven bogeys and just one birdie on a course with challenging hole locations and fast greens on a day that began with a 30-minute lightning delay.

Welch, who began the day with a five-shot lead on Ava Salay, stretched it to eight by the turn despite three bogeys and one double on the front. The UW-Green Bay recruit played her first six holes on the front nine in 2-over and never looked back, as only two other golfers finished within 10 shots of her.

"I'm a little upset I didn't break 80 both days, but I have no reason to really be upset when my team pulled through and we won and I got to win the individual title," said Welch, who felt the confidence she gleaned from three previous trips to state thrust her to the top this time. "This year, it was more realistic that I could win it.  I was much more confident this year than I was in year's past. I think I'm a different golfer than I was last year at this time.

"Going into state this year, I had a better feeling I could pull through with it." 

Likewise, her teammates didn't panic even though conditions were tougher and their winning score 43 shots higher than the one they posted in 2018.

The Crusaders were the only team among the six in the Division 2 field to have all five golfers break 100 both days. On Tuesday, they counted an 88 from junior Caitlyn Hegenbarth, a 91 from senior Anaka Leske and a 94 from junior Grace Jaeger, tossing out a 95 from freshman Allyssa Thao as all five Edgewood golfers finished among the top 20 in the 39-player field.

"It was survival mode, for sure, from start-to-finish," Edgewood coach Peggy Gierhart said. "The weather was cold. The course played difficult. And the greens were super-fast. It was sort of a different mentality for them. They were kind of protective and they really needed to start to loosen up and play more aggressively against the wind and things like that. It worked out well.

"They hung in there and you just can't have the same par in your mind then. You have to think that bogeys and double (bogeys) are sometimes a good score, which is how it was — especially on the last nine here (Tuesday)."       

That was among the many things Prescott learned in its first trip to state.

Like Edgewood, the Cardinals graduate their No. 1 golfer in Alexis Fredericks. But they bring back five other girls who made the trip to Madison — led by Ava Salay, who earned Middle Border Conference player-of-the-year honors.

"We've looked at that," Salay said. "The thing is, Edgewood is going to come back. They're going to rebuild. They're always there. We're just looking at hopefully a long run of a good rivalry with them. It'll be fun next few years.

"Next few and beyond because we've got some young girls playing, too."


Team/Player Leaderboard
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D2 Par: 72 Yardage: 5216
Verona, WI US
Oct 14-15, 2019
Pos. Team/Player (seed) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 Edgewood 347 355 702
1 Grace Welch (1) 76 82 158
8 Caitlyn Hegenbarth (2) 87 88 175
T11 Anaka Leske (4) 91 91 182
15 Grace Jaeger (3) 93 94 187
T17 Allyssa Thao (5) 98 95 193
2 Prescott 376 397 773
2 Ava Salay (2) 81 85 166
T17 Alexis Fredericks (1) 89 104 193
21 Liz Rohl (3) 96 98 194
31 Jessica Heinsch (4) 110 110 220
37 Lindsay Olson (5) 122 114 236
3 St. Croix Central 395 395 790
T6 Sally Vangsness (1) 86 87 173
T13 Brooklyn Mishler (3) 95 91 186
27 Parker Chladek (2) 108 104 212
30 Jenna Wehausen (4) 106 113 219
36 Sydney Burgess (5) 119 115 234
4 Osseo-Fairchild/Fall Creek 405 395 800
3 Ariel Heuer (1) 83 84 167
24 Madyson Rosman (2) 108 93 201
25 Izzy Popple (3) 105 101 206
35 Eleice Dahl (4) 109 117 226
39 Trinity Knudtson (5) 125 120 245
5 Xavier 404 397 801
T9 Lauren Haen (1) 87 89 176
22 Kate Bernecker (2) 96 99 195
29 Tillie Carew (3) 113 103 216
T32 Gaby Wittmann (4) 108 113 221
34 Lizzie Tetzlaff (5) 118 106 224
6 Wrightstown 428 414 842
23 Sophie Stengel (4) 99 100 199
26 Camryn Burke (2) 105 104 209
28 Danielle Bruecker (3) 117 96 213
T32 Carley Ott (1) 107 114 221
38 Ashley Hansen (5) 122 120 242
 
Individuals
Pos. Player (Team) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
T4 Haley Myers (Somerset) 83 89 172
T4 Kiernan Smith (Northwestern) 89 83 172
T6 Holly Carlson (Ellsworth) 95 78 173
T9 Abby DeMoe (Colfax) 87 89 176
T11 Maya Heckmann (Lakeside Lutheran) 96 86 182
T13 Rylee Haines (Arcadia/Independence) 96 90 186
16 Mary Hommen (Cambridge) 103 88 191
T17 Callie Berg (Freedom) 97 96 193
T17 Ava Heckmann (Lakeside Lutheran) 102 91 193

Madison Edgewood's state championship history

The years that Madison Edgewood has won its 15 WIAA state girls golf championships, the schools the Crusaders have beat and by how much:


Year Winning
score
Runner-up Runner-up
score
Margin
2019 702 Prescott 773 71
2018 659 Appleton Xavier 719 60
2014 659 Fox Valley Luth. 715 56
2013 681 Fox Valley Luth. 702 21
2012 674 Racine Prairie 675 1
2011 646 Racine Prairie 691 45
2009 628 Edgerton 738 110
2008 617 Arcadia/CFC 737 120
2007 634 Amery 695 61
2006 667 St. Croix Falls 691 24
2005 720 St. Croix Falls 748 28
2004 693 Osseo-Fairchild 749 56
2003 687 Osseo-Fairchild 792 105
*2002 665 Middleton 700 35
*2001 697 Middleton 705 8
* = Single division

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