Despite a runner-up finish, Milton senior Mia Seeman seemed weary from Monday’s 18 holes at the difficult Maple Bluff Country Club course.
“It was a tough day,” Seeman said. “I just couldn’t putt.”
Certainly, as a competitor, Seeman wanted to putt better on the quick, undulating greens during the Crusade Fore a Cure girls golf invitational.
But that was a secondary point when she considered the eighth annual tournament’s purpose — it raises awareness about breast cancer and benefits Susan G. Komen Wisconsin. The pink-clad teams collected money through fundraisers and during a luncheon listened to speakers discussing the cancer fight, including Sauk Prairie girls tennis coach Katie Massey, who discussed her battle with breast cancer.
“It doesn’t matter how you play,” Seeman said. “It’s for a good cause. (Massey) really made me appreciate how fortunate I am. She made me appreciate being healthy.”
Seeman, the tournament’s defending champion, fired a 77 on the par-74 layout and finished just behind Bay Port freshman Jo Baranczyk, the medalist with a 2-over-par 76.
Milton junior Taylor Hakala and Franklin’s Courtney Matschke each shot 79, while Madison Edgewood sophomore Grace Welch and Janesville Parker’s Sophia Dooman finished with 81s.
Seeman and Hakala helped Milton — top-ranked in the coaches’ state rankings and nattily attired with pink shirts, socks and bows in their hair — claim the team title for the second time in three years.
The Red Hawks totaled 346, four strokes better than last year’s winner Middleton, the state’s fourth-ranked team. Verona was third with 377, while Madison Edgewood, the host school, and Franklin tied for fourth with 379 scores.
“It’s a really good test of golf for the girls,” Milton coach Kirk Wieland said about playing at Maple Bluff. “There are quick greens and small fairways. The conditions were absolutely perfect. I feel fortunate to sneak out of here with a victory. All the girls have room to improve. There were just too many big numbers, which prevented us from having the scores we wanted.”
Middleton was led by sophomore Kate Meier (83) and seniors Payton Hodson (85) and Grace Peterson (85).
“I’m extremely happy with our score today,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “I expected us to shoot in the 350s to 360. We are struggling right now in our four and five spots. … But (golfers) one, two and three with 83, 85 and 85, that was very good.”
Halverson said there was a bigger meaning to Monday’s tournament, and tried to explain to her team that hitting a bad shot paled in comparison to facing cancer.
“Hitting a bad shot in golf is not the end of the world,” Halverson said. “It put things in perspective.”
The tournament raised about $55,000 in its first seven years and collected about $16,000 to $18,000 this year, Madison Edgewood assistant coach Betsy Zadra said. Crusaders coach Peggy Gierhart and Zadra, who both had friends and family affected by cancer, came up with the idea for the tournament eight years ago. Edgewood’s team raised more than $5,000 for this year’s tournament.
“This is a good, good tournament,” Wieland said. “So many families have had dealings with cancer. If the girls weren’t as focused, it’s all right because it was for the right reasons. It’s just an awesome event. I think our girls were as ecstatic about winning the best-dressed award as they were about winning the tournament.”
Seeman said the team's top ranking doesn't come into play at tournaments.
"It's nice, but it doesn't really matter," she said. "You have to prove yourself on the course anyway."