Prescott golf claims second straight Division 2 title

A dynasty is born. On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Prescott girls golf team won its second consecutive WIAA State Girls Golf Championship at University Ridge in Madison with a total team score of 671, which won the Division 2 tournament by 49 shots.

Prescott junior Ava Salay led the charge for Prescott on Tuesday morning and into the early afternoon hours. Her twoday score of 70 was the low score for not only Prescott but also the entire tournament. Liz Rohl shot an 84, Rhi Stutz posted a 90, Jessica Heinsch finished the day with an 89 and Maddie Reiter rounded out the Prescott scoring with a 105.

The second consecutive state championship for the Prescott Cardinals is a continuation of a dominant varsity squad that won state by 20 shots last year. Now, back at University Ridge for the first time in two years, Prescott again demonstrated its depth and overall talent. In addition to a second consecutive team title, Salay also won the 2021 WIAA State Girls Golf Tournament individual title for the first time in her career.

In Salay’s three years at the high school level, her team has gone to state every year and she made significant contributions each season. However, in her junior season of 2021, she contributed more than ever and was able to win the individual state title with a total two-day score of 148.

Prescott picked up its dominant golf right where it left off after the day one action late Monday afternoon. Going into day two, Prescott had a 10-shot lead over the Saint Croix Central Panthers who were in second place. The championship Tuesday was essentially a two-team race. Prescott and Saint Croix Central were separated by only ten shots. The difference between Saint Croix Central and the team in third place, The Prairie School, was 19 additional strokes.

The Prescott Cardinals began play on the back nine instead of the front nine for day two of the championship. The 10-shot lead for Prescott quickly ballooned into a 33-shot lead after the first nine holes on day two. Part of the reason that Prescott began to pull away from Saint Croix Central on the front nine is because Saint Croix Central #1 Sally Vangsness got off to a rough start on day two. On her first hole of the day, hole ten, she made double bogey after driving her ball into the heavy rough and then lipping out a bogey putt.

For Vangsness and Saint Croix Central, it didn’t get much better. Vangsness made a quadruple-bogey at the 412-yard par five 12th hole which made her six over par in her first two holes of day two, essentially knocking her out of the individual state championship race.

For Prescott and Salay, almost the exact opposite was true. Salay began her round with two pars and then made a bogey at the 124-yard par three 12th hole. After the bogey at the 12th, Salay shot level par for the remainder of the day two first nine.

Salay’s performance on the day two first nine outshined her closest two competitors. The aforementioned Vangsness who faded away early in the second round, and Payton Schmidt of Jefferson High School, who made a charge during the day two first nine. After making bogey at the par five 11th hole, Schmidt made par at the 12th and then poured in a long birdie putt at the 294-yard par four 13th. Despite Schmidt making a run on the first nine, Salay held a seven-shot lead going to the back nine on day two of the championship that she held until the tournament was over.

On the back nine, Salay was playing at perhaps the highest level of her young career. Salay made four consecutive birdies on the back nine starting on the fifth hole and ending at the eighth hole. She also made birdie at the 428-yard par five second hole. Her back nine score for day two was a 33, which helped secure the team’s title.

Rohl finished seventh overall for the Cardinals. Heinsch was 11th, and Stutz was tied for 13th overall to contribute to the title win. Reiter finished 26th.

For the second time in as many years, the Prescott Cardinals are girls golf state champions.

October 13, 2021