The 2019 Baraboo prep girls golf program is completing its first full revolution as a program.
Carly Moon will become the first four-year player in program history when she tees it up for the Thunderbirds this fall — the fourth season in team history. The senior has shot Baraboo’s low round at regionals the last three years and became the first T-Bird to reach the WIAA Division 1 state meet last season.
She took 50th out of 78 individuals at state, then spent the summer playing junior tournaments in preparation for her final year.
“Her swing is very good and I can’t wait to see what we can get her scoring average down to,” Baraboo coach Landon Brownell said Wednesday, the third day of practice. “She got fitted for new clubs and has been playing with them throughout the (summer) season and has really adjusted well to them. She has had the attention of a lot of other high school coaches, not only with her golf ability, but her attitude, leadership and personality.
“Talking with her and her parents, they have gotten a lot of college coaches interested and going to see her play. Going into the season, she is ranked in the top 15 individuals in the state. She will have a lot of eyes on her.”
Moon and senior Adele Griffin will be at the top of the lineup for the second straight year when the T-Birds kick off the season at Friday’s invitational in Reedsburg.
“They both have been playing quite a bit this summer and are ready for our season to take off,” Brownell said. “They are such great leaders as well, and always make everyone feel a part of the team and offer their guidance.”
There will be less guiding to do this fall, as the T-Birds also bring back a strong group of sophomores in Katie Gruber, Macy Henry, Caroline Lewison, Zann Peterson, Sadie Schlender and Meg Turkington, many of whom gained varsity experience in 2018.
“They all got a lot of valuable experience last season as freshmen and those initial butterflies won’t last long as we get going into tournaments,” Brownell said of the sophomores, also noting that freshmen Gaby Jurvelin, Bella Gillette and Kayla Capener will bolster the program’s depth. “We have some new players to the team this year with some golf experience and I look forward to see what they can do as we get more practices in and some rounds.”
The newcomers will play a role at some point, but Brownell expects the veterans to carry Baraboo early. The group of Moon (94), Griffin (98), Claire Huebsch (101), Schlender (105) and Lewison (116) led Baraboo to a season-low team score of 398 and a fifth-place finish at the 2018 Badger North Conference meet at The Legend at Bergamont in Oregon.
They should be able to take it even lower this year, as they spent plenty of time on the course this summer.
“I’m very impressed already with the progress some of the girls have made from last year,” Brownell said. “Fall golf is such a great time to play as a high school sport, because they have had a chance to play all summer. When talking with the girls about how much they’ve played throughout the summer, it is significantly more than what I heard last year. They have gotten together to practice and play together and that’s the biggest key is getting the repetition in.
“Adele Griffin has continued to improve her game and with more golf knowledge and experience, I look to see her bringing her scores down as we get started. Sadie Schlender received the most improved last season and has been playing quite a bit throughout the summer and has told me about some pretty good rounds. Caroline Lewison’s swing has improved quite a bit and is making a lot of progress.”
The T-Birds hope to use their experience to move up a few spots in the Badger North this fall, a conference that was led by Waunakee and Beaver Dam last year. If the T-Birds are in good shape at the end of the year, they’ll get to take their shot at home when they host a regional meet at Baraboo Country Club.
“With that experienced team from last year, I look to see us making our way into the middle and top of the conference,” Brownell said. “(Then) see what we can do as we approach the end of the season.”