seeman photo 11-7

Milton's Mia Seeman watches her drive on the 15th tee during the final round of the WIAA state girls tournament at University Ridge Golf Course.

JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

It’s a game for most of us, a diversion.

But for Milton senior Mia Seeman, golf is a job, a passion, a vocation, a future.

Her blend of talent, and mental approach helped her achieve a four-year goal last month, when she shot a 1-under-par 71 on the first day and a 2-over 74 on the second to win the WIAA Division 1 state individual championship.

As a result, Seeman has been named the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Girls Golf Player of the Year for 2017.

That title might hold a special place in the South Dakota State University recruit’s heart — partly because she achieved it with a group of teammates that finished second behind an all-but-untouchable Hartland Arrowhead team in the Division 1 title chase.

It was the climax to a season that started with Seeman winning the Wisconsin Junior PGA Foundation’s Lake Arrowhead Invitational, earning a chance to play in the Girls Junior PGA Championship held in July in St. Albans, Missouri.

Much of her summer was also spent studying with instructor Mario Tiziani and practicing, practicing and practicing some more at her home club, Oak Ridge Golf Course.

“The good shots that you hit, it’s just addicting,” Seeman told the Janesville Gazette this season.

“You want to go out and keep doing it. There are some things you can master. Golf pretty much can’t be mastered. There’s always something you want to do better. It just gets you to keep coming back. But it’s always fun, even the practice.”

Said Milton coach Kirk Wieland: “Mia, more so than any player I’ve ever been around, wants to get to this level more than anyone. I’m not trying to critique anyone or put (Mia) on a pedestal, but there just hasn’t been a player I’ve been around who got to this level.”

That group included Seeman’s sister, sophomore Claudia, and the Hakala sisters — junior Taylor and freshman Callie, along with Holly Gunnink. Taylor Hakala also made the All-Area first team after placing 15th at state and earning second-team All-State honors.

Also making the first team were Middleton senior Payton Hodson, who finished fifth at state and made the All-State first team; Verona senior twins Courtney and Lauren Shorter; and Madison Edgewood sophomore Grace Welch.

Coach of the Year: Sixteen months ago, Wieland was named Milton’s coach the day of the Red Hawks’ season opener. It was an abrupt transition, but not all that difficult in the long run — after all, the coach that Wieland replaced was his wife, Andrea, who left the Red Hawks to become the women’s golf coach at UW-Whitewater.

In his first year, Wieland led the Red Hawks to a sixth-place tie in the state tournament and then-junior Mia Seeman to a tie for fourth individually.

In 2017, Wieland’s Red Hawks finished second at state and crowned Seeman as the individual state champ. His team’s accomplishments earned Wieland the 2017 All-Area Coach of the Year honor.

First team

Mia Seeman, sr., Milton: Won the WIAA Division 1 state championship with a 1-over-par 145 after shooting 1-under 71 on the opening day. Led the Red Hawks to a runner-up team finish and earned repeat first-team All-State honors. Beat Oregon’s Andi McCorkle in a playoff to win the Badger South Conference individual title and led the Red Hawks to a 34-stroke victory over Oregon in the team race.

Taylor Hakala, jr., Milton: Shot 81-79-160 at state, placing 15th, and held down the No. 2 spot all season for the state runner-up Red Hawks. Named a second-team All-State pick. Finished third in the Badger South meet, shooting 73 to finish one stroke behind the leaders.

Payton Hodson, sr., Middleton: Finished in a fifth-place tie at Division 1 state, shooting 79-77-156, and helped the Cardinals finish eighth in the team race. Named to All-State first team. Took third in the Big Eight individual race (81) and led Middleton to the conference team title. Was named overall Player of the Year in the Big Eight.

Courtney Shorter, sr., Verona: Shot 78-86-164 to tie for 18th at state. Won the Big Eight individual title with a 77.

Lauren Shorter, sr., Verona: Shot 79-77-156 to tie for 10th place at state, earning third-team All-State honors. Shot 79 to finish second, two strokes behind her sister, in the Big Eight meet, and then won the Verona sectional title with a 75.

Grace Welch, so., Madison Edgewood: Shot 80-86-166 to finish fifth individually at Division 2 state, leading the young Crusaders to a runner-up team finish. Named an honorable mention All-State pick.

Second team

Andi McCorkle, sr., Oregon; Kate Meier, so., Middleton; Klairissa O’Reilly-Dye, jr., Monona Grove; Alexa Owen, sr., Jefferson; Sam Soulier, jr., Waunakee; Kendra Swanson, jr., Beaver Dam.

Honorable mention

Allison Anderson, jr., Wisconsin Dells; Chloe Day, sr., Beloit Memorial; Sophie Denure, fr., Portage; Sophia Dooman, jr., Janesville Parker; Caitlyn Hegenbarth, fr., Madison Edgewood; Caylie Kotlowski, fr., Stoughton; Lillian Knetter, jr., Madison West; Kallie Lux, fr., Janesville Craig; Grace Peterson, sr., Middleton; Cassidy Schnell, jr., DeForest; Kaitlyn Schneider, sr., Fort Atkinson; Claudia Seeman, so., Milton.

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Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.