Brooke Knutson, a member of the Westby/Viroqua girls cooperative golf team, fired an 81 and placed second individually among 48 golfers at the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament held at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Monday, Oct. 2. Knutson, a Viroqua High School senior, will advance to compete in the individual portion of the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament, scheduled for the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Oct. 9-10.
At sectionals the Westby/Viroqua team had a 441 total score, with Ariana Valle (WHS) carding a 109 (57-52), April Roth (WHS) 121 (59-62), Heaven Saunders (WHS) (130) (61-69) and Alicia Stuber (VHS) 145 (72-73).
In the 2017 fall sports season preview, coach Heidi Hubatch was hoping that the savvy six young women could find the right magic to surprise the competition this season, and surprise they have.
The team turned some heads in the area by placing third in the Coulee Conference. Last week, the Westby/Viroqua linksters surprised people on a regional basis by qualifying for the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament by placing fourth in Division 1 at the Stevens Point Country Club, Wednesday, Sept. 27. Onalaska won the regional team title with a 358; Stevens Point 395; Tomah 398; Westby/Viroqua 442; Marshfield 456; La Crosse Central/Logan 462; Sparta 462; and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 489. Onalaska’s Erin Erickson took medalist honors with an 82.
At regionals a trio of seniors led the way. Knutson fired an 86 and placed second individually; Saunders, shaking off whatever little rust she had from her game after returning to action from a mid-season injury, scored a 108 good for a tie for 13th place; and Arianne Valle (WHS) carded a 115. Roth added a 133 and Stuber a 147 to the team total, which was 14 strokes better than fifth-place Marshfield.
The top four teams and top four individuals, not a member of a qualifying team, advanced to the WIAA sectionals.
“The girls did a great job with their drives and putting,” Hubatch said following the regionals. “Their putting really saved them and helped to lower their scores a quite a bit.”
Knutson became the first Westby or Viroqua high school girl’s golfer to earn Coulee Conference Player of the Year honors this season.
“I am very proud of the team this year,” Knutson said. “Last year we didn’t really have enough skill to score as a varsity team, but this year we were able to…it makes me really glad that they care about the game and make an effort to get better.”