VERONA, Wis. — They stood together near the 18th green and waited to celebrate with coach Andy Foley and junior teammate Annie Balduzzi, but they had trouble controlling the emotions they were feeling.

Shealyn McCoy, Kaitlyn MacCharles, Olivia Fox and Carolyn Swift were ready to celebrate a WIAA Division 2 girls golf state championship, but they needed their team to be complete to do so.

“We approached the green, and I saw the four of them up there,” Foley said. “They were just giddy.”

They were giddy because they were about to be recognized as the first girls golf champions in program history. They were giddy because a season-long commitment of turning a goal into reality was about to be completed.

The Blugolds shot a 36-hole score of 717 Monday and Tuesday, and that was 15 strokes better than second-place Madison Edgewood and 24 better than third-place Fox Valley Lutheran.

Balduzzi led the way by shooting an 82 Tuesday for a tournament score of 167. That was good for sixth place individually in a competition won by FVL’s Erica Priebe (16-over-par 160).

Jim Kelsh photo
Onalaska’s Erin Ericson tied for 10th place individually with a 156 in the Division 1 tournament. The Hilltoppers took seventh as a team.

Onalaska finished seventh in Division 1 with a score of 697 and was led by Erin Ericson’s 156 that tied for 10th place overall.

Aquinas, which finished fourth at last year’s meet, shaved one shot off of its first-round score, while Edgewood added 12 to its first round. The Blugolds saw their score climb 19 shots during last year’s second round before three golfers carded better second rounds than first rounds on Tuesday.

Junior Carolyn Swift made the biggest improvement by following up a 112 on Monday with a 96.

“I tell you what, she just flipped a switch,” Foley said of Swift. “What she showed is how important every one of our players is to what we accomplish as a team.

“Carolyn is a diamond in the rough for us, and I don’t know if she even realizes what she did for us today.”

The performance was a good example of how the Blugolds followed up a regional win and sectional runner-up finish with the most significant win in the history of the team.

“This is unbelievable,” said McCoy, who shot identical rounds of 87 and placed seventh individually with a 174. “It’s weird to go all day and not see your teammates, but get to celebrate with them at the end.

“We knew this was something we could do. We didn’t look past regionals or sectionals, and we went out and did it.”

The state golf championship is the sixth for Aquinas but first by a girls team and first since moving to the WIAA. The Blugolds won five WISAA boys titles (1970, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1995).

Balduzzi’s 82 followed an opening round of 85, and MacCharles dropped from a 94 to a 93 to give Aquinas four golfers who either matched or scored better then their first rounds.

“What the girls did today was nothing short of amazing,” said Foley, whose team will be recognized in a program at Aquinas at 10:45 a.m. today. “All we wanted was the chance to do this. At the end, I knew we were golfing well, and I saw them (Edgewood) start to struggle, and that’s when we started to feel pretty good.”

Balduzzi, McCoy, Fox and Swift each recorded a birdie. McCoy carded hers on the par-3 17th, and Balduzzi finished with four pars on her last five holes before sinking her final putt to start the celebration.

Swift had her birdie on the par-3 fifth and shot a 45 on the front nine on her way to the best round of her season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” McCoy said of Swift. “She played out of her mind.”

The Hilltoppers, who beat Aquinas for the MVC championship before winning regional and sectional titles, saw their scores rise on Tuesday. Onalaska was fourth after the first round but slipped a bit on Tuesday.

Hartland Arrowhead won the team championship with a 630, and Milton’s Mia Seeman was medalist with a 1-over 145. Katie Chafoulias placed 33rd with a 195 to back up Ericson.

“We knew this was something we could do. We didn’t look past regionals or sectionals, and we went out and did it.” —Aquinas’ Shealyn McCoy,
on the Blugolds winning
the state tournament