It was a year to remember all right, but when history reflects on the first of two WIAA girls golf seasons during the 2020-21 school year it will reflect well on the Class of 2024 that burst on the scene this fall and made its presence felt.
For now, that task will fall to the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin.
It, too, felt strongly about this year's freshmen, naming WIAA Division 1 state champion Jessica Guiser of Hartland Arrowhead the GCAOW's fall player of the year and recognizing three other freshmen – Kenosha Bradford's Kylie and Katelyn Walker and Brookfield East's Madison Haugen – in its top three squads on its all-state team released in a YouTube video Sunday night.
Guiser and Kylie Walker were named to the first team while Haugen earned second-team honors and Walker's twin sister Katelyn made the third team. Guiser, who trailed Kylie Walker by five shots after one round of the weather-shortened state tournament, shot 77 in the final round and forced a playoff with Cedarburg's Elise Hoven, winning with a par on the first extra hole to become the first freshman since 2009 to win the Division 1 state title.
Joining Guiser and Kylie Walker on the first team were Hoven, a North Dakota State recruit and the lone senior among the top six; junior Sarah Balding of WIAA Division 1 state champion Brookfield Central; and sophomores Norah Roberts of Union Grove and Ava Salay of Division 2 state champion Prescott. Xavier (Appleton) senior Lauren Haen joined Haugen on the second team, which featured three golfers from Kettle Moraine High School in Wales — juniors Jenna Anderson and Madeline Fiebig and senior Reagan Stuke, who orally committed last week to NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech University.
Other highlights of the GCAOW all-state teams:
- Division 1 state champion Brookfield Central had six golfers recognized, including third-teamers C.J. Romero and Kyley Wipper, both seniors, and Norah Purtell and Eva Kumer, both juniors who split time as the Lancers' No. 5 golfers. They were also contributors to a varsity reserve squad that had a nine-hole average (176.87) that would have ranked 10th in the state among varsity programs.
- Oak Creek senior Ellie Behring, a second-team selection, was the top honoree who did not qualify for the state tournament. The Southeast Conference player of the year lost in a sectional playoff to Franklin's Claire Fugate for the last of three state berths in a loaded Franklin sectional after both shot 87 in challenging conditions at Oakwood Park GC.
- Three golfers from Waunakee (seniors Sydney Grimm and Aly Kinzel and freshman Izzi Stricker) and two from Arrowhead (senior Kylie Lanza and junior Lauren Peterson) earned honorable mention. The two teams tied for runner-up honors behind Brookfield Central at the Division 1 state tournament.
- Senior Maya Heckmann of Lakeside Lutheran in Lake Mills was the only other Division 2 golfer to make one of the top three teams behind Salay (first team) and Haen (second team).