D1 Day 2 Westosha Central quick team pic

Members of the Westosha Central girls golf team quickly gather on the 18th green for a picture moments after winning the WIAA Division 1 championship.

MADISON — When her work was finished Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course and Kylie Walker could finally celebrate a job well done, the sophomore opened up the Westosha Central playlist and revealed the song that put the Falcons in the right mood to win their first WIAA Division 1 state girls golf championship.

"We listen to 'Raise Your Glass,'" Walker said, referring to Pink's 2010 party anthem. "That's like our song so we listen to it every, single time before and after a tournament. That's kind of been our song all season.

"And it's worked."

VIDEO: Westosha Central’s Kylie Walker on how the song "Lift A Glass' helped her Falcons lift the 2021 WIAA Division 1 golden trophy.

VIDEO: Westosha Central's Katelyn Walker on her Falcons winning the 2021 WIAA Division 1 state girls golf championship.

Never moreso than Tuesday, when the three sophomores, one junior and one senior rolled into University Ridge — music cranked, windows down — and stared down two of the most dominant programs in the 50-year history of this event, held off another upstart and raised more than a glass when they were done.

The Falcons hoisted the gold trophy for the first time in program history after shooting 319 during the final round and, with a 36-hole total of 637, holding off Hamilton (Sussex) by seven strokes to top the Division 1 competition.

Stevens Point junior Riley Pechinski turned the race for medalist honors into something of a rout after shooting a 2-under-par 34 on her inward nine (the front nine) to shoot 1-under 71 and easily outdistance Norah Roberts of Union Grove (71) and Appleton North's AJ Powell (74) for top honors.

History says this combination of winners could not have been more unlikely than the ones that Tuesday's drama on another cool, cloudy and occasionally misty day produced. Westosha Central is the first school among today's collection of Southern Lakes Conference schools to win a state girls golf championship and Pechinski is only the second from what is now the Wisconsin Valley Conference to prevail individually.

"Just their perseverance all year," Westosha Central coach Ryan Dahl said, when asked to explain what set this team apart on its way to the top. "Just being able to come back from bad situations. I mean our No. 4 golfer (Chloe Brown) went triple-triple (bogey) on Nos. 10 and 11 and I get her (aside) and say 'OK, let's do something crazy.' And she goes and hits it to six feet (on the par-3 12th hole) and makes birdie."

Brown's 86 was the final counting score for the Falcons, who rode a 75 from Kylie Walker, a 76 from Katelyn Walker and an 82 from Elle O'Reilly to victory. It marked the third time in as many legs of the WIAA's postseason that the same four golfers accounted for Westosha Central's teams score — allowing Dahl to toss senior Carly Lois' 102 — and, to think, only the Walker twins had state experience coming into the week.

"I came back and I was very consistent; shot the same score (a 76) and I'm happy with that," Katelyn Walker said amid the buzz of her team's post-round celebration on the 18th green. "And my teammates, I'm just so surprised. They did way better than I expected for their first time being at state."

Indeed, Westosha Central might be the most surprising Division 1 state champion since Waunakee way back in 2010. The Warriors had never finished higher than sixth in two state appearances before their victory and Westosha Central's state tournament resume was every bit as light (two 11th-place showings 20 year ago).

In fact, the Falcons had just won two 18-hole competitions on regulation-sized courses this fall before they arrived at University Ridge. They won the Southern Lakes Conference by three strokes over Union Grove and, a few weeks earlier, won the Mukwonago Invitational at Morningstar Golfers Club in Waukesha by nine strokes over Hamilton (Sussex) in what turned out to be a sneak preview of Tuesday at University Ridge.

Matching Middleton, a program going for its third straight state title, shot-for-shot in Round 1 ultimately gave Westosha Central all the confidence it needed to finish the job. Maybe too much confidence. 

"We were all cheering and partying (at the hotel) and we just told each other 'We're going in (Tuesday) and we're going to win this thing,'" Kylie Walker said. "We had a lot of confidence going into this. I'm kind of surprised our over-confidence, y'know, didn't come for us. But I think a little bit of confidence helps us."

The proof was on their scorecards, which projected onto the scoreboard.

Kylie Walker birdied four of her first eight holes — even-numbered holes only, though — and shot 3-under 33 on the front nine. By the time they reached the ninth tee, the Falcons had stretched their lead over Middleton to 12 strokes and nobody else threatened until Hamilton got within five on the back nine.

The Chargers' four scoring golfers all shot 84 or better, led by junior Kayla Johnson's 74. However, the Chargers settled for becoming just the 11th school to earn a trophy in its state tournament debut.

VIDEO: Stevens Point’s Riley Pechinski on winning 2021 WIAA Division 1 state girls individual golf title.

"These girls are resilient; they have learned to face adversity," said Hamilton coach Dan Heckman, who took over the varsity program late in the season after veteran coach Randy Howard was asked to resign. "They played great coming down the stretch. We had our hiccup at regionals. At sectionals, they got on a roll and we rolled right into Madison with that. So all the credit goes to these girls for being tough kids.

"Not only are there golf lessons, but life lessons here. No matter what these girls do, they'll handle adversity and be successful handling it."

Westosha Central's Dahl would like to think his golfers learned a little something about adversity, too, this postseason. In a way, the Falcons have Union Grove to thank, having finished second to them by seven strokes at both the Union Grove regional and last week's Westosha Central sectional in Kenosha.

"UG beat us at regionals and sectionals and we really wanted to get back at them," Katelyn Walker said, proud of how they took out third-place Middleton and fourth-place Brookfield Central — two programs with a combined 51 state tournament appearances — in one fell swoop as well. "Now we got everyone. ... I'm so excited. I feel like I'm in a dream. I told my teammates 'Someone wake me up.' I can't believe it."

This win was so unexpected Katelyn Walker didn't have a quick answer for where she, and her teammates would celebrate the win. She did have a quick answer — and a big grin — when she answered how.

"We're going to raise the glass," Katelyn Walker said.

TEAM SCORES

Team Leaderboard
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D1 - Par 72 - 5216 Yards
Verona, WI US
Oct 11-12, 2021
Pos
Team
To Par
Thru
Today
R1
R2
Total
1
  -  
+61
F
+31
318
319
637
2
  1  
+68
F
+33
323
321
644
3
  2  
+74
F
+44
318
332
650
4
  -  
+80
F
+42
326
330
656
5
  1  
+86
F
+48
326
336
662
T6
  1  
+90
F
+47
331
335
666
T6
  2  
+90
F
+46
332
334
666
8
  1  
+99
F
+46
341
334
675
9
  3  
+102
F
+61
329
349
678
10
  -  
+128
F
+67
349
355
704
11
  -  
+141
F
+74
355
362
717
12
  -  
+145
F
+68
365
356
721

Individual scores

Player Leaderboard
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D1 - Par 72 - 5216 Yards
Verona, WI US
Oct 11-12, 2021
Pos
Player
Team
To Par
Thru
Today
Total
1
  1  
SPASH
-3
F
-1
70
71
141
T2
  2  
Union Grove
+2
F
-1
75
71
146
T2
  2  
Appleton North
+2
F
+2
72
74
146
4
  4  
Middleton
+3
F
+3
72
75
147
T5
  5  
Westosha Central
+4
F
+3
73
75
148
T5
  5  
New Richmond
+4
F
+8
68
80
148
T7
  7  
Kettle Moraine
+5
F
+2
75
74
149
T7
  7  
Brookfield Central
+5
F
+5
72
77
149
9
  9  
Westosha Central
+8
F
+4
76
76
152
T10
  10  
Hamilton
+9
F
+2
79
74
153
T10
  10  
Milton
+9
F
+3
78
75
153
T10
  10  
Bay Port
+9
F
+6
75
78
153
T10
  10  
Kettle Moraine
+9
F
+7
74
79
153
T14
  14  
Waunakee
+11
F
+7
76
79
155
T14
  14  
Brookfield East
+11
F
+8
75
80
155
16
  16  
Bay Port
+14
F
+5
81
77
158
T17
  17  
Sheboygan North/South
+15
F
+9
78
81
159
T17
  17  
Tomah
+15
F
+11
76
83
159
19
  19  
Onalaska
+16
F
+9
79
81
160
T20
  20  
Waukesha South Co-op
+18
F
+9
81
81
162
T20
  20  
Union Grove
+18
F
+10
80
82
162
T20
  20  
Hamilton
+18
F
+12
78
84
162
T20
  20  
Middleton
+18
F
+12
78
84
162
T20
  20  
Middleton
+18
F
+13
77
85
162
T25
  25  
Hamilton
+19
F
+10
81
82
163
T25
  25  
Divine Savior Holy Angels
+19
F
+11
80
83
163
27
  27  
Waunakee
+21
F
+9
84
81
165
T28
  28  
Tomah
+22
F
+4
90
76
166
T28
  28  
Hamilton
+22
F
+9
85
81
166
T28
  28  
Brookfield Central
+22
F
+12
82
84
166
T28
  28  
Brookfield Central
+22
F
+12
82
84
166
32
  32  
Waunakee
+23
F
+12
83
84
167
T33
  33  
Westosha Central
+24
F
+10
86
82
168
T33
  33  
Cedarburg
+24
F
+12
84
84
168
T33
  33  
Onalaska
+24
F
+14
82
86
168
T36
  36  
Wauwatosa East/West
+25
F
+11
86
83
169
T36
  36  
Westosha Central
+25
F
+14
83
86
169
T38
  38  
De Pere
+26
F
+12
86
84
170
T38
  38  
Bay Port
+26
F
+16
82
88
170
40
  40  
Cedarburg
+28
F
+16
84
88
172
T41
  41  
Tomah
+29
F
+13
88
85
173
T41
  41  
Sheboygan North/South
+29
F
+14
87
86
173
T41
  41  
Kaukauna
+29
F
+15
86
87
173
44
  44  
Brookfield Central
+31
F
+13
90
85
175
45
  45  
New Richmond
+32
F
+19
85
91
176
46
  46  
Tomah
+33
F
+18
87
90
177
T47
  47  
New Richmond
+34
F
+17
89
89
178
T47
  47  
Cedarburg
+34
F
+18
88
90
178
T47
  47  
Union Grove
+34
F
+19
87
91
178
T50
  50  
Brookfield East
+35
F
+14
93
86
179
T50
  50  
Waunakee
+35
F
+19
88
91
179
T50
  50  
Oregon
+35
F
+21
86
93
179
T53
  53  
Wausau East/West
+36
F
+13
95
85
180
T53
  53  
Union Grove
+36
F
+18
90
90
180
T53
  53  
Appleton North
+36
F
+22
86
94
180
56
  56  
Bay Port
+37
F
+21
88
93
181
T57
  57  
Middleton
+38
F
+16
94
88
182
T57
  57  
New Richmond
+38
F
+17
93
89
182
T57
  57  
Oconomowoc
+38
F
+21
89
93
182
60
  60  
New Richmond
+40
F
+25
87
97
184
61
  61  
Brookfield Central
+41
F
+21
92
93
185
62
  62  
Cedarburg
+42
F
+21
93
93
186
T63
  63  
Oregon
+43
F
+21
94
93
187
T63
  63  
Middleton
+43
F
+24
91
96
187
65
  65  
Appleton North
+45
F
+23
94
95
189
66
  66  
Baraboo
+48
F
+27
93
99
192
T67
  67  
Brookfield East
+49
F
+25
96
97
193
T67
  67  
Hamilton
+49
F
+26
95
98
193
69
  69  
Brookfield East
+50
F
+21
101
93
194
70
  70  
Waunakee
+51
F
+25
98
97
195
71
  71  
Cedarburg
+54
F
+26
100
98
198
72
  72  
Westosha Central
+56
F
+31
97
103
200
73
  73  
Brookfield East
+58
F
+28
102
100
202
T74
  74  
Appleton North
+61
F
+30
103
102
205
T74
  74  
Bay Port
+61
F
+33
100
105
205
76
  76  
Appleton North
+62
F
+27
107
99
206
77
  77  
Tomah
+64
F
+36
100
108
208
78
  78  
Union Grove
+114
F
+59
127
131
258

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