D2 Day 2 Combined team pic

It’s rare to have two teams from the same conference finish one-two at a state tournament. Members of St. Croix Central (in black) and Prescott (in red) mark the feat by posing together for a picture. The teams play in the Middle Border Conference.

MADISON — At one point during another triumphant afternoon Tuesday, Chad Salay had checked all the boxes a high school golf coach could possibly check in one WIAA state girls tournament. Until the Prescott coach found one more.

His Cardinals were well on their way to a successful defense of their WIAA Division 2 state title (and the school's mascot had arrived at University Ridge Golf Course to join in the celebration). His daughter, Ava, was busy lighting up the front nine with birdie after birdie after birdie, making four in a row starting at No. 5 before a bogey at the par-5 ninth hole left her with a 2-under-par 70, and wrapping up a 14-stroke victory for her first WIAA state individual title.

VIDEO: Prescott coach Chad Salay on his team and his daughter winning the 2021 WIAA Divisions 2 girls golf team and individual titles.

What could possibly make his day any better? There was one way, but it was up to Middle Border Conference rival St. Croix Central to deliver the answer.

"I was kind of even checking on that toward the end of the round," Salay said of the Panthers' quest to close out their first state runner-up finish. "I was pullin' for 'em and wanting them to finish strong and get that hardware."

Sally Vangsness and Sydney Burgess delivered the exclamation point for St. Croix Central and the Middle Border. They combined to improve 10 strokes from their front nine to their back as the Panthers (720) held off The Prairie School (Racine) by three strokes for the runner-up trophy, finishing 49 shots behind Prescott in an order of finish all too familiar in northwest Wisconsin.

It marked the 11th time in 12 meetings between the two schools that they finished 1-2 on a team leaderboard, including the MBC Championship, the WIAA Prescott regional and the WIAA St. Croix Central sectional. While it marks the third consecutive year that Prescott has emerged with WIAA hardware (the Cardinals were state runners-up in 2019), it is the first time in four state appearances that St. Croix Central has hoisted a WIAA trophy.

"It's funny; I just told the girls we beat Prescott once this year in a (nine-hole) Middle Border match and that was it," Panthers coach Logan Kimberly said. "That's the only time this year we finished first and now we still take second at state, putting a little legitimacy on our conference and western Wisconsin golf. We all root for each other, for sure. They're a close group of girls. They're competitive, but at the end of the day they are rooting for each other."

Ava Salay, who started the day tied with the Panthers' Sally Vangsness atop the Division 2 individual leaderboard, made eight pars and one bogey on her outward nine (the back nine) and — with Vangsness stymied by a slow start (she played her first four holes in 9-over) — found herself ahead by seven strokes at the turn. After starting the front nine par-birdie-bogey-par, Salay went on her birdie binge to get to 3-under for the day only to bogey No. 9.

"After I came in with a good score on the back nine, where I had struggled (Monday), that gave me a lot of momentum going into the front nine thinking 'OK, I've got this now,'" Ava Salay said after finishing at 4-over 148 for the tournament. "I was just in complete control of my game. I just started knocking them close and sinking putts. ... It's never just  given to you, obviously, it's always (earned). It's an incredible accomplishment that I'm going cherish, for sure."

VIDEO: Prescott’s Ava Salay on sweeping 2021 WIAA Division 2 state girls golf individual and team titles.

She is the first public-school golfer to earn Division 2 medalist honors since 2022 LPGA Tour golfer Casey Danielson of Middle Border member Osceola in 2012. Salay is also the fourth golfer to earn Division 2 medalist honors in the same year that her team won a state title, but the 2019 and 2020 state runner-up is the first not from 13-time state champion Edgewood.

That does not happen if not for the growth of the golfers behind her in the lineup. Seniors Liz Rohl (87-84) and Jessica Heinsch (86-89) and junior Rhi Stutz (87-90) helped the Cardinals shoot a closing 333 for a 671 total — a 102-stroke improvement over their first state appearance in 2019 at U-Ridge where they earned the runner-up trophy, finishing 71 shots behind Edgewood.

"It's amazing how much they've improved since freshman year," Ava Salay said of Rohl and Heinsch. "I'm incredibly proud of both of them and just our whole team. I could not ask for a better team. We're all really upset that we have to leave each other after this tournament, but it was amazing, this past year and these past three years with the most amazing team."


Team scores

Team Leaderboard
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D2 - Par 72 - 5216 Yards
Verona, WI US
Oct 11-12, 2021
Pos
Team
To Par
Thru
Today
R1
R2
Total
1
  -  
+95
F
+45
338
333
671
2
  -  
+144
F
+84
348
372
720
3
  -  
+147
F
+68
367
356
723
4
  -  
+189
F
+95
382
383
765
5
  -  
+213
F
+114
387
402
789
6
  -  
+216
F
+107
397
395
792

Individual scores

Team/Player Leaderboards
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D2 Par: 72 Yardage: 5216
Verona, WI US
Oct 11-12, 2021
Click on the round header, (Rd 1, Rd 2, etc), to view previous round data
Pos. Team/Player (seed) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 Prescott 338 333 671
1 Ava Salay (1) 78 70 148
7 Liz Rohl (2) 87 84 171
11 Jessica Heinsch (4) 86 89 175
T13 Rhi Stutz (3) 87 90 177
26 Maddie Reiter (5) 90 105 195
2 St. Croix Central 348 372 720
4 Sally Vangsness (1) 78 88 166
T13 Sydney Burgess (2) 87 90 177
19 Gil Holme (4) 89 94 183
T27 Sarah McHenry (3) 94 102 196
32 Janessa Olson (5) 103 100 203
3 The Prairie School 367 356 723
5 Sophia Lawler (1) 86 81 167
T8 Madeline Maraccini (3) 84 88 172
T20 Kadyn Peery (2) 97 91 188
T30 Addison Lalonde (4) 100 100 200
T30 Aishani Dhar (5) 104 96 200
4 Freedom 382 383 765
10 Emma Laundrie (2) 85 88 173
16 Callie Berg (1) 92 88 180
17 Megan Alexander (3) 92 89 181
36 Maddie Allen (4) 113 118 231
39 Ashley Moeller (5) 125 120 245
5 Arcadia/Independence 387 402 789
T8 Hallie Tulip (1) 81 91 172
T20 Whitney Sonsalla (2) 96 92 188
33 Ahnna Bautch (4) 109 104 213
34 Kenzie Wolfe (3) 103 118 221
35 Ithzel Cossio (5) 107 115 222
6 Edgewood Sacred Heart 397 395 792
18 Jacklyn Thao (3) 90 92 182
T20 Sarah Nakada (1) 96 92 188
T20 Allysa Thao (2) 91 97 188
37 Madeline Brandrup (5) 120 114 234
38 Alena Wood (4) 121 122 243
 
Individuals
Pos. Player (Team) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
2 Payton Schmidt (Jefferson) 83 79 162
3 Brianna Kirsch (Lancaster) 87 78 165
6 Ava Pesha (Somerset) 84 84 168
12 Danielle Bruecker (Wrightstown) 90 86 176
15 Ava Heckmann (Lakeside Lutheran) 93 86 179
T20 Gillian Johnson (Hayward) 93 95 188
25 Sydney Greenfield (Spooner) 95 94 189
T27 May Shimek (Xavier) 92 104 196
29 Lilly Kaminski (Denmark) 102 97 199

Team-by-team scores

Player Leaderboard
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D2 - Par 72 - 5216 Yards
Verona, WI US
Oct 11-12, 2021
Pos
Player
Team
To Par
Thru
Today
Total
1
  -  
Prescott
+4
F
-2
78
70
148
2
  2  
f
Jefferson
+18
F
+7
83
79
162
3
  7  
Lancaster
+21
F
+6
87
78
165
4
  3  
St. Croix Central
+22
F
+16
78
88
166
5
  3  
The Prairie School
+23
F
+9
86
81
167
6
  1  
Somerset
+24
F
+12
84
84
168
7
  3  
Prescott
+27
F
+12
87
84
171
T8
  3  
The Prairie School
+28
F
+16
84
88
172
T8
  5  
Arcadia/Independence
+28
F
+19
81
91
172
10
  3  
Freedom
+29
F
+16
85
88
173
11
  3  
Prescott
+31
F
+17
86
89
175
12
  3  
Wrightstown
+32
F
+14
90
86
176
T13
  3  
St. Croix Central
+33
F
+18
87
90
177
T13
  3  
Prescott
+33
F
+18
87
90
177
15
  7  
Lakeside Lutheran
+35
F
+14
93
86
179
16
  3  
Freedom
+36
F
+16
92
88
180
17
  2  
Freedom
+37
F
+17
92
89
181
18
  3  
Edgewood Sacred Heart
+38
F
+20
90
92
182
19
  5  
St. Croix Central
+39
F
+22
89
94
183
T20
  8  
The Prairie School
+44
F
+19
97
91
188
T20
  6  
Edgewood Sacred Heart
+44
F
+20
96
92
188
T20
  6  
Arcadia/Independence
+44
F
+20
96
92
188
T20
  2  
Hayward
+44
F
+23
93
95
188
T20
  2  
Edgewood Sacred Heart
+44
F
+25
91
97
188
25
  -  
Spooner
+45
F
+22
95
94
189
26
  11  
Prescott
+51
F
+33
90
105
195
T27
  3  
St. Croix Central
+52
F
+30
94
102
196
T27
  8  
Xavier
+52
F
+32
92
104
196
29
  1  
Denmark
+55
F
+25
102
97
199
T30
  3  
The Prairie School
+56
F
+24
104
96
200
T30
  1  
The Prairie School
+56
F
+28
100
100
200
32
  1  
St. Croix Central
+59
F
+28
103
100
203
33
  2  
Arcadia/Independence
+69
F
+32
109
104
213
34
  3  
Arcadia/Independence
+77
F
+46
103
118
221
35
  1  
Arcadia/Independence
+78
F
+43
107
115
222
36
  -  
Freedom
+87
F
+46
113
118
231
37
  -  
Edgewood Sacred Heart
+90
F
+42
120
114
234
38
  -  
Edgewood Sacred Heart
+99
F
+50
121
122
243
39
  -  
Freedom
+101
F
+48
125
120
245

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