2022 WPGA Junior Championship | Jessica Guiser

Hartland's Jessica Guiser tees off during the first round of the 2022 WPGA Junior Championship.

Wisconsin has seen less of Jessica Guiser since the 2020 WIAA Division 1 state champion from Hartland Arrowhead left for IMG Academy in Florida in the spring of 2021.

However, when Guiser returns home during the summer and graces state events with her presence, she makes it count.

This summer, Guiser won the one-day U.S. Girls Junior qualifier at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison and a pair of two-day events — the WPGA Junior Championship at Brown Deer Park and Dretzka Park in Milwaukee and a WPGA Players Tour event at Blackwolf Run in Kohler where she beat UW-Green Bay-bound Riley Pechinski of Plover. Guiser also finished seventh at the AJGA Future Legends Tournament at The Legend of Merrill Hills CC in Waukesha, second among state golfers by one stroke to Loyola (Ill.)-bound Cassie Psuik of Greenfield.

That resume, coupled with exceptional play in regional and national events as part of her competitive workload at IMG, kept Guiser at the head of the girls Class of 2024 in the Wisconsin.Golf rankings for the third year in a row.

"Playing well in my Wisconsin tournaments shows that I have learned over the previous year at IMG and was able to convert what I've learned into actual tournament rounds," Guiser wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.Golf. "The tournaments confirmed that I'm happy with where I am at with my golf game."

Truth be told, Guiser should be ecstatic.

Although she left for IMG to court the highest levels of competition and to work on her game year-round, the competition in Guiser's class alone back in Wisconsin makes it worth coming home to each summer. The Class of 2024, which was targeted as deep and talented before its golfers even got to high school, has far exceeded those lofty expectations. 

As many as 10 girls have earned NCAA Division I interest, counting No. 6 Mya Nicholson of Janesville Craig, who has a scholarship offer from Northern Iowa in basketball and considers golf her second sport. With Division II UW-Parkside in Kenosha adding women's golf next fall, virtually anyone in the top 20, if not the top 25, could help coach Carly Werwie-Swartz build off her initial recruiting efforts in the Class of 2023 and make the Rangers an instant threat in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

But that could change as this year's juniors become next year's seniors if they show as much collective improvement as they did over the last 12 months. The eight golfers behind Guiser in the top 10 — not counting Nicholson, whose only competitive golf came during the high school season — served notice that their best golf is in front of them because none seem interested in resting on their laurels.

Waunakee's Izzi Stricker quietly jumped from No. 6 to No. 2 in the rankings after winning the WIAA Division 1 state championship (73-70) and also earning medalist honors at the regional (74) and sectional (76). She became the first Division 1 champion since Bay Port's Jo Baranczyk (2019) to earn gold medals at each level of the tournament series.

Like Guiser, Stricker didn't play often this past summer but made her presence felt when she did, finishing fifth at U.S. Girls Junior qualifying (75) and the Sherri Steinhauer (74-74) and ninth at the WPGA Junior Girls (76-78). She also quietly became the first golfer in her class to verbally commit to play college golf, announcing last week on Instagram that she will follow her mom, the former Nicki Tiziani, and older sister, Bobbi, in playing for the University of Wisconsin.

Kenosha's Kylie Walker, a junior at Westosha Central High School in Paddock Lake, held on to the No. 3 position after a rollercoaster summer in which she started slow, finishing T-13 at the U.S. Girls Junior qualifying and the WPGA Junior Championship, but finished strong with a runner-up showing at the Sherri Steinhauer and a T-7 finish at the Lake Arrowhead Invitational. Walker rode that momentum into the high school season, owning a share of the first-round lead at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament after a 69 at University Ridge GC in Madison only to close with a 76 and finish second, two back of Stricker.

Some of Walker's best competition came from twin sister Katelyn, who slipped one spot from No. 4 to No. 5 despite breakthrough moments throughout the year. She led qualifying at the Wisconsin State Junior Girls Championship with a 70 at Hartford GC before losing to her sister in the second round of match play. Katelyn Walker had matching sixth-place finishes at the Sherri Steinhauer and the Lake Arrowhead Invitational late in the summer before helping her sister lead Westosha Central to a second consecutive WIAA state title with a T-5 individual finish (73-78) of her own.

Brookfield East's Madison Haugen, however, muscled her way in between the two sisters, going from No. 6 to No. 4 on the strength of fourth-place finishes at the WPGA Junior Championship, Morgan Stanley Tour Championship and WIAA Division 1 state championship and a fifth-place showing at the Dells Junior Championship. Her ranking also recognizes the role she played in helping her own sister — freshman Payton, the No. 1 golfer in the Class of 2026 — adjust to high school golf and in leading the Spartans to their first Greater Metro Conference title, not to mention a program-best fourth-place state finish.

That Brookfield's Treva Dodd, who is in her third year at IMG, slipped from No. 2 to No. 7 was more a reflection of what the golfers ahead of her did than what she didn't do. Indeed, Dodd was one of two golfers in this year's junior class to make the cut at the Wisconsin State Women's Open (Kylie Walker the other) and improved from Round 1 to Round 2 in four of her five 36-hole starts.

"I think the 2024 class has made great improvements," Guiser wrote, "and I am very happy to see my close friends making these big steps in their golf game."

Middleton's Vivian Cressman, who moved from No. 10 to No. 9 in last year's rankings, inches ahead another spot to No. 8 after another solid summer highlighted by her victory at the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin College Showcase (78-77) and a fourth-place showing at the Lake Arrowhead Invitational (73-78). Not only has her natural athletic ability caught the attention of Division I coaches, but it did not go unnoticed that Cressman helped the Cardinals finish second to Westosha Central at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament by finishing T-5 individually on rounds of 74 and 77.

Oconomowoc's Lauren Lupinek made the biggest jump of anyone in the top 10, vaulting from No. 15 to No. 9. Her T-20 showing at the Wisconsin State Women's Amateur was tops among the five Class of 2024 golfers in the field, but her consistency in junior events throughout the summer — top 20 finishes at all five 36-hole events she entered despite struggling to follow-up strong opening rounds in each — set the stage for a breakout high school season that culminated with a ninth-place showing at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament where she improved strokes from Round 1 to Round 2 with her closing 74.

This class has an abundance of grinders and late-bloomers, adding the narrative that the jockeying for positions in the top 10 is far from over.

However, it has a headliner in Guiser whose star continues to rise. After returning to IMG this fall, she continued to work on her game ahead of the Golfweek International Junior Invitational in Orlando, where she shot 68-68 and rallied from four shots behind with 10 holes to play to force a playoff with Georgia's Christina Surcey before falling on the second extra hole.

"I saw improvement in my mental game, specifically self-talk and my play off the tee, (but) I am looking to improve my short game and my ability to get up-and-down," wrote Guiser, who is trying to balance efforts to improve her short game with efforts to figure out where to play her college golf. "Looking at colleges is a new experience, but IMG has been very helpful. Ideally, I want to commit before summer, but finding the best fit academically and athletically is the priority."

Girls Class of 2024

No. First name Last name High school College Nov.
2021
Nov.
2020
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@killarneygolfmedia.com

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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