Coach Peggy Gierhart was combing social media late Tuesday afternoon as she got set to leave University Ridge GC and join her Madison Edgewood girls golf team at Buffalo Wild Wings for another state championship celebration.
She laughed when asked to imagine what it would have been like had Twitter been around in 2001 when the Crusaders won their first WIAA state title. (It wouldn't appear on the scene until 2006, after they had won their fifth.)
Life moves at a much faster pace these days and Edgewood's wacky WIAA postseason journey these last three weeks showed how quickly things can turn. Three weeks after four scores of 93 were enough for the Crusaders to come home from Prairie du Chien with a regional title, a pair of career rounds from two emerging sophomores got them to B-Dubs with a state title.
Caitlyn Hegenbarth shot 75 and Grace Jaeger shot 76 as Edgewood shot 326 and extended its WIAA record of state girls golf championships to 14 with a 60-stroke victory over Appleton Xavier. It marked the Crusaders' first state title since 2014 when a 75 from state runner-up Caroline Lake and a 76 from state champion Tess Hackworthy during the final round got the job done.
"It was pretty wild; I just couldn't believe it," Gierhart said after Jaeger (82-76) and Grace Welch (78-80) tied for third and Hegenbarth (84-75) finished fifth behind champion Clair Phakamad of Appleton Xavier (78-74) to lead the way on a remarkable final day. "They started out well and we don't usually start out well so it's kind of like 'OK, this is nice.' And they kept it going and kept it going. My (Nos.) 2 and 4 ... (shot) their career rounds and it was just super fun. This is our team low this year by a lot and to have it here at University Ridge was just icing on the cake."
Starting on No. 10 in the shotgun start, Hegenbarth birdied Nos 11 and 18 around bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16 to make the turn in even-par 36. She got to 1-under with a birdie at No. 4 before playing her final four holes in 3-over.
"(Monday) after my round, I went to the range and worked on some stuff that wasn't too good the other day," Hegenbarth said. "(Tuesday), my mental game was much better and I managed to keep the ball in the fairway."
Attitude was everything again Tuesday for Jaeger, who started on No. 11, bogeyed No. 12 and birdied No. 16 to make the eight-hole turn in even-par. She bounced back from bogeys at Nos. 2 and 4 with birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 before running out of gas and playing her final four holes in 4-over.
"(Monday), I had a great mental state and (Tuesday) was just even better," Jaeger said. "I was hitting everything straight and where I wanted to pretty much. I missed a few putts, but overall it was just a great day."
It was such a great day that, at one point, Gierhart wished aloud that the season was just starting, instead of just ending.
"There was very little experience on our team beyond Grace (Welch) as far as tournament experience," Gierhart said. "They're young. So I think, because of that, it was a very special title because of how far they've come. I mean some of these girls were shooting in the 100s at the beginning of the year. To break 80 is a huge difference. It's a long season and the more you play the better you get."
But it's all good. All five Crusaders who came to University Ridge — and left for wings — will be back next fall.