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G-E-T girls golf ends Arcadia's reign atop Coulee

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Viking Classic golf

G-E-T's Bailey Schmidt tees off on the fourth hole at Drugans Castle Mound during the Viking Classic. Erik Daily

The Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School girls golf team was completely unfamiliar with the feelings that accompany winning a Coulee Conference championship until Saturday.

To be fair, Arcadia was the only school that did know anything about them since the conference was formed for the 2007 season.

The Raiders had won all of them, either by themselves or as part of a co-op with Cochrane-Fountain City, until the Red Hawks officially knocked them off Saturday at Drugan’s Castle Mound Golf Course.

“I thought at the end of last year, depending on how hard the girls worked in the summer, that we had a chance to beat Arcadia,” G-E-T coach Rick Schmidt said. “I think Arcadia should have been considered the favorite, but I thought we could compete with them in terms of talent.”

G-E-T did compete with Arcadia and scored a seven-shot victory over it in the final meet to win the season championship. Sophomore Bailey Schmidt became season medalist for the second year in a row and shot an 84 to lead all golfers.

“I can’t think of a better confidence-builder for them heading into the regional,” said Rick Schmidt, whose team competes Wednesday in a WIAA Division 2 regional at River Run Golf Course in Sparta. “I think the last two weeks they’ve shown that when they play well, they can golf with the better teams in the area.”

The Red Hawks won the Raider Invitational at Trempealeau Mountain Golf Course the previous week, and that meant the team played better than familiar opponents as well as teams from Tomah and Holmen.

“We’ve beaten Tomah twice this year,” Rick Schmidt said of the MVC champion. “That’s huge for a program like ours, and it showed (players) how good we can be as a team.”

Bailey Schmidt has led the team all season, but senior Lindsay Neitzel has been right there with her. Neitzel shot an 89 on Saturday and spent a lot of time working on her game during the summer months.

“Since our first practice, the goal was to win (the Coulee) even though we hadn’t done it before,” Bailey Schmidt said. “Our seniors were really pushing for it because we were close.

“I think when we won our first conference meet, we knew we could go out and do it.”

The Red Hawks also went out and did it in chilly and very windy and rainy conditions.

Bailey Schmidt started with a 47 on the front nine and closed out with a 37 on the back despite weather getting worse as the meet continued.

“I just wasn’t all over the place like I was on the front, even though it was pouring, and there were big winds and the rain was coming right in our faces,” said Bailey Schmidt, who won a regional championship and came up five shots short of qualifying for the state meet as a freshman. “My putting was a lot better, and that was a difference.”

Senior Lexi Bishop and junior Konor Auer have also been consistent players for the Red Hawks this fall, and there has been a boost to the talent level by freshmen Morgan Baardseth and Emily Jansen. Baardseth’s 95 was third for G-E-T on Saturday, and Auer was a medalist for a meet at Viroqua Hills last week.

“We’re starting to get a lot more consistency from every spot in the lineup,” Rick Schmidt said. “It’s great because when we golf a nine-hole tournament, we never have to keep a 50 for our team score. For 18, we won’t have to score a 100 very often, and that really makes a difference.”

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