Brooke Knutson has been at or near the top of the leaderboard in every competition for the Westby/Viroqua co-op girls golf team this fall and last week her efforts were rewarded when she earned first-team all-Coulee Conference honors and also Coulee Conference Player of the Year title for the 2017 season. Knutson becomes the first girls high school golfer from either Viroqua or Westby high schools, or the co-op program, to capture the award.
The Player of the Year honor is based on individual results at seven conference matches, and the end of year conference tournament, which was held this last week at Drugan’s Castle Mound Course near Holmen. Knutson placed in the top three individually in all seven conference events, including three medalist honors, three second-place finishes and one third. The Viroqua High School senior wrapped up the award, placing third at the conference tournament finale, carding an 18-hole round of 88 (45-43). Knutson was a two-time all Coulee second team member during her sophomore and junior seasons.
The Player of the Year award is based on individual results from the seven conference tournaments, with 15 points being awarded for a best score or medalist honors at each event. It was a three-way race for the honor, with Knutson’s total of 96.5 at the top of the board, G-E-T’s Madison Schmidt finished a close second with 94 points, and Arcadia’s Ryle Haines was right behind with a 92. Ariana Valle joined Knutson on the all-conference honor roll, placing 13th overall for the season, earning a spot on the Coulee honorable mention team. Valle, a Westby High School senior, recorded an 18-hole score of 103 (55-48) at the conference tournament.
The pair of seniors led the much-improved Westby/Virqoua team to a third-place finish in both the end of season tournament at Castle Mound and in the final Coulee conference season team standings. The co-op teams total of 417 at the conference meet, was 43 strokes less than the 460 compiled on the Drugan’s course just one month ago, at the Viking Invitational hosted by Holmen. Knutson and Valle’s scores were similar to the early season results, but the greatest improvement came from the younger golfers. Westby freshman Emilie Brose, with a season best 103, showed the most dramatic improvement, shaving an amazing 34 strokes off her score from her earlier round at Drugan’s of 137. Westby sophomore April Brose, with a 123 (career low), improved from the month earlier round of 136 and Viroqua freshman Alicia Stuber scored a career-best 132, a 14-stroke improvement from her 146 on the same course in August.
“All of the girls played really well today,” coach Heidi Hubatch said. “I am super proud of the team effort these girls put forth this year. It was great to be able to score as a team this year. The team as a whole has also improved in their long and short games.”
“Brooke has done really well with her chipping and putting during the last several matches,” Hubatch said. “During her freshman year until now she has really matured in her game. She always knows which club to hit and knows how to play it safe when she needs to.”
G-E-T won their fifth consecutive Coulee Conference team championship, followed by Arcadia, Westby/Viroqua, C-F-C, BRF and Blair/Taylor.
Black River Falls
Earlier in the week, the Westby/Viroqua team finished third at the BRF-hosted, next to the last, Coulee Conference competition of the year, Monday, Sept. 18. The team made the best of the cool, rainy conditions scoring a team total of 218. G-E-T won the meet with a 175, Arcadia was a distant 2nd with a 208, followed by W/V 218, CFC 234, BRF 244 and B/T 270.
Haines and Schmidt shared medalist honors each with a 41, Knutson was one shot back in third with a 42. Valle with a 53, Brose a 60, Roth a 62 and Stuber with a 78 rounded out the team score.
The girls were scheduled to compete at the WIAA Division 1 regionals scheduled at the Stevens Point Country Club on Sept. 27.