FOND DU LAC — Things couldn’t have gone any better for Waupun’s prep boys golf team last week at regionals.
The stars aligned perfectly, and the Warriors not only won the tournament, they did so by 37 strokes.
With a score that was 61 strokes better than their season average to boot.
So naturally, they knew repeating that feat at Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament at Whispering Springs wasn’t likely going to be in the cards.
And it wasn’t.
But what was in the cards — what the Warriors wanted as a consolation prize if they couldn’t somehow pull off an upset for the ages and make it through to state — was finishing in the top half of the field.
Led by seniors Ayden Enders (17-over-par 89), Brady Gerritson (90) and Tyler Burmania (93), Waupun posted a score of 380, good for sixth place in the 12-team field.
Good enough, too, for a reward.
“Good enough,” Warriors coach Dan Wucherer said, “for ice cream.”
“They have earned it.”
Waupun finished in the basement of the East Central Conference standings this season, so what happened over the last seven days really came as a surprise.
Even to Wucherer, it was a surprise.
“They exceeded my expectations,” he said. “We finished seventh in conference out of eight (then) we won a regional title by 37 (strokes) and finished in the top half at sectionals. So we’re happy — very happy. They’re great kids to work with.”
A big reason for the dramatic scoring drop-off from last Tuesday at Camelot in Lomira, when the Warriors put up a 339 to easily outdo the host Lions’ runner-up score of 376, was that the course conditions were much more challenging.
“Tough course, definitely. There’s a lot of trouble and the greens are tough to read,” Wucherer said. “I would say today is summed up by: I saw a lot of good shots, I saw a lot of good swings, but scoring is tough. You have to be exact on your reads on the green on speed and line or they don’t go in. That’s what Whispering Springs has — that’s what the greens are. There’s a lot of slopes and there’s contours around the green and you’ve got to factor all that in. If you don’t factor it perfectly, it doesn’t go in.”
“But we finished in the top half at sectionals,” he added, “and if you would have told me that at the beginning of the year, that we would do that, I would have asked, ‘Is there Arizona swamp land to go with that deal?’”
Waupun first had to get to sectionals in order to finish in the top half at sectionals.
And it was the same trio of seniors that led the way to Whispering Springs, with Enders and Burmania finishing in a three-way tie for second with a 10-over 82 and Gerritson carding an 83 to finish alone in fifth.
Freshman Garret Glewen wasn’t far behind, alone in eighth with a 92.
“We had some kids play really well. The top three kids had the best round of their career,” Wucherer said.
They played well Tuesday, too — not well enough to advance, but certainly well enough to hold their heads high.
“What I told the team coming in” Wucherer said, “is our goal is to finish in the top half. It’s a realistic goal.
“And we met it, so I’m very happy for them.”
WIAA DIVISION 2 SECTIONAL TOURNAMENT</&hspag3>
At Whispering Springs, Par 72
State qualifying teams (top two teams): 1, University School of Milwaukee, 327; 2, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, 330.
Other team scores: 3, Sheboygan Falls, 343; 4, Grafton, 354; 5, Waukesha Catholic Memorial, 355; 6, Waupun, 380; 7, Whitefish Bay Dominican, 389; 8, Milwaukee St. Thomas More, 390; 9, Kiel, 394; 10, Lomira, 400; 11, Valders, 419; 12, Milwaukee Pius XI 431.
Medalist: Riley Tanzi, KML, 74.
Individual state qualifiers (top three individuals who aren’t on state-qualifying teams): Ben Book, Brookfield Academy, 79; Andrew Kettle*, Sheboygan Falls, 82; Tyler Tsui*, Grafton, 82.
Waupun: Ayden Enders 89, Brady Gerritson 90, Tyler Burmania 93, Garrett Glewen 108 (Rylan Bruins 123).
<&SPAGEm>*Advanced in a four-way playoff</&SPAGEm>
Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8 or contact him at 920-356-6753.