Sarah Schuster, Union Grove

Sarah Schuster of Union Grove.

Sarah Schuster has enjoyed playing junior golf with Franklin’s Hailey Smoot for as long as she can remember, so the temptation to be college teammates together was too good to pass up.

That was a big reason behind the Union Grove senior’s announcement last week that she will attend Carthage College and play golf for the Lady Reds. And room in the dorms with Smoot.

“We played together on the (WPGA Junior) Tour a bunch of times and we got along so well,” said Schuster, who chose Carthage over interest from UW-Whitewater and NCAA Division II University of Sioux Falls (S.D.). “It was awesome when I heard that she was going there.”

Schuster, the runner-up to Waterford’s Taitum Beck in the Southern Lakes Conference last fall, was a two-time WIAA Division 1 state qualifier. As a senior, she shot 89-78 and finished tied for 24th -- with Smoot, no less -- a year after shooting a pair of 87s and finishing alone in 38th.

At Carthage, Smoot and Schuster -- ranked 11th and 16th, respectively, in the Wisconsin.Golf state ranking of the girls Class of 2017 -- give coach Mike Scardina two solid recruits to help offset the upcoming graduation losses of Emily Santucci, Aleksandra Steinert and Stephanie Walter. In addition, they follow strong recruiting classes that led No. 1 golfer Sarah Lyman and No. 3 golfer Carlee Dawson to Carthage in 2015 and No. 2 golfer CheyAnn Knudsen in 2016.

“I hope to definitely help the team win tournaments,” Schuster said, noting that Scardina told her he believes she can be an NCAA Division III All-American. “That’s one of my goals, but (it’s more) to help my team progress and win tournaments. He said they are losing some girls and I would be a really good person to fill those spots, that I’d definitely make the team better.”

In turn, Schuster believes Scardina and graduate assistant coach Carly Werwie -- a former University of Wisconsin golfer who played the Symetra Tour -- can make her better.

“That was the other deciding factor, that I liked Carly so much,” said Schuster, whose first priority was finding a Division III school that would allow her the freedom to balance her academic pursuits -- she wants to study business -- with the opportunity to play golf.

“I figured she would be really helpful to me. … I really liked the coaching staff; They were so nice to me. I know players on the team, too, so that was nice and I got along with them.“

Schuster learned through the recruiting process that relationship-building is a big key.

“Look at the dynamic that the team has and (how they are) getting along with the coaches,” Schuster said. “I think that’s important because you have to have a good relationship with them in order to do well.”

Girls golf: Class of 2017 rankings (November 2016)

Wisconsin's top 50 girls golfers in the Class of 2017. Help us stay current on college choices by emailing Rob Hernandez at rhernandez@wisgolfer.com.

No. First name Last name High School College choice
1 Alexis Thomas Middleton North Dakota State
2 Taylor McCorkle Oregon North Dakota State
3 Ashley Kulka Beaver Dam UW-Green Bay
4 Sarah Busey Racine St. Catherine's Santa Clara (Calif.)
5 Lori Meyer Freedom UW-Green Bay
6 Lexi Jonas Hudson Sioux Falls (S.D.)
7 Jessica Kuzniewski Waukesha co-op Wisconsin (academics)
8 Alexa Holland Hartland Arrowhead Minnesota (academics)
9 Katie Warpinski Green Bay Preble UW-Green Bay
10 Sydney Hubbard Onalaska Sioux Falls (S.D.)
11 Hailey Smoot Franklin UW-Parkside (academics)
12 Mattie Kujawski Hartland Arrowhead Minnesota (academics)
13 Maggie Warrner Wabeno/Laona (boys) Illinois Wesleyan
14 Taitum Beck Waterford Weber State (Utah)
15 Jordann Handy Oshkosh West Eastern Tennessee State
16 Sarah Schuster Union Grove Carthage
17 Andree Blackburn Eau Claire Memorial St. Olaf
18 Alyssa Bee Eau Claire North UW-Stout
19 Morgan Miles Middleton Wisconsin (academics)
20 Mary McDonald Stevens Point College of Charleston
21 Megan Glaeser Fox Valley Lutheran UW-Eau Claire
22 Hannah Moore Kaukauna Viterbo
23 Alayna Tulip Arcadia UW-Superior
24 Dani DeWitt Spooner UW-River Falls
25 Leah Hansen Denmark UW-Green Bay
26 Katie Gastrau Wauwatosa co-op Truman State
27 Faith Krause Franklin Minnesota State-Mankato
28 Molly Mundinger West Bend West/East Concordia (Wis.)
29 Rachel Gentile Racine Prairie School Iowa (academics)
30 Danielle Palmen Racine Prairie School St. Olaf (Minn.)
31 Olivia Scumaci Racine Prairie School Wisconsin (academics)
32 Julia Michicich Racine Prairie School Not available
33 Kelsey Taebel Stoughton UW-La Crosse
34 Marielle Cesar Kettle Moraine Wisconsin (academics)
35 Rachel Johnson Spooner Not available
36 Katie Kiraly Stanley-Boyd UW-Stout
37 Reagan Beyer Oshkosh West Wisconsin (academics)
38 Anna Reisinger Cedarburg Missouri S&T
39 Jessica Rudnicki Sun Prairie UW-Eau Claire
40 Ione Dyer Monona Grove Wisconsin (academics)
41 Kelly Elmes Madison Memorial Wisconsin (academics)
42 Laura Tremblay Hayward Gustavus Adolphus (hockey)
43 Lauren Krieg Madison Memorial Not available
44 Keara Richards Janesville Parker UW-Oshkosh
45 Emily O'Leary Janesville Parker St. Norbert (academics)
46 Sarah Pophal Waunakee Edgewood College
47 Maddie Friedman Spooner Not available
48 Lindsay Callahan Middleton Alabama (academics)
49 Madeline Wimmer Grafton (boys team) UW-River Falls
50 Megan Dowd Kettle Moraine Not available
HM Megan Ryan Oconto Minnesota-Crookston
HM Emma Woldt Madison Edgewood Lakeland
HM Anne Schlageter Mequon Homestead Missouri Valley College
HM Jennifer Thul Maple Northwestern College of St. Scholastica
HM Megan Kroeger Lakeland (Minocqua) Carthage
HM Michelle Lodholz Tomahawk UW-Oshkosh

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.