Everyone knew the championship race at last week’s Southwest Wisconsin Conference Golf Championships was between River Valley and Lancaster.
But that didn’t stop Platteville from trying to play the role of spoiler.
Led by senior Parker Wilken’s 9-over-par 81 on the par 72 course at Reedsburg Country Club, the Hillmen shot a 342 and finished fourth, 18 strokes behind eventual conference champion River Valley (324).
Despite Lancaster sophomore Zach Hentrich’s meet-best 77, the Blackhawks were able to hold off the Arrows 324–328.
The two teams entered Tuesday’s championship meet tied in the league standings, but the Blackhawks’ victory on Tuesday gave them a two-point edge in the final overall conference standings.
“We knew the race for first place was between Lancaster and River Valley, but I still wanted our team to improve upon previous results,” said Hillmen first-year head coach John Sponsler. “Despite a slow start, we hung in there, battled and ground out a personal best team score.”
Platteville finished fourth in Tuesday’s championship meet behind Valley, Lancaster and Prairie du Chien (334), but managed to finish third in the final league standings.
Josh Beck shot an 84, Quincy Pick an 88 and Clayton Stanton rounded out Platteville’s conference score with an 89.
Alex Iverson shot a non-counting 98 on Tuesday.
“I’m really proud of the team and how they performed this year,” added Sponsler. “The pattern of performance at the meets was slow to start but finish strong. Our season has echoed that performance. We started the season shooting 176 at Argyle and finished our final SWC meet with a 161. That is incredible improvement and shows the team’s dedication. I feel like we’re playing some of our best golf right now which is exactly how you want to feel going into tournament time.”
The Hillmen opened tournament play this past Tuesday at the WIAA Division 2 Viroqua regional. The top four teams and the top four players not on qualifying teams, will move on to Thursday’s D2 Wisconsin Dells sectional.
Wilken’s fifth-place finish last Tuesday was good enough to secure second place in the final individual SWC standings with 210 points. He finished behind only Hentrich, who won this year’s Player of the Year honors with 227 points.
“Parker had an incredible season finishing as the second best golfer in the conference,” said Sponsler. “In most years, he probably would have won player of the year, but I give Zach a ton of credit for his clutch performances down the stretch. Parker is our one-man. It takes big shoulders and great confidence to accept this responsibility, and he has done it with class. I am constantly impressed with his patience on the golf course and his ability to overcome adversity.
On Saturday Platteville traveled to the world renown Whitsling Straights Golf Course for a non-conference dual with Kohler High School.
The Hillmen dropped a 338–390 decision, but had the opportunity of lifetime playing a professional-style course.
Wilken shot a 90 to lead Platteville.
(from Tuesday, May 15 @ Reedsburg CC, par 72)
Team scores — 1.River Valley 324, 2.Lancaster 328, 3.Prairie du Chien 334, 4.Platteville 342, 5.Dodgeville 364, 6.Richland Center inc..
Medalist — 1.Zach Hentrich, L, 77.
Platteville (342) — Parker Wilken 81, Josh Beck 84, Quincy Pick 88, Clayton Stanton 89, Alex Iverson 98.
Final SWC Standings — 1.River Valley 43.5, 2.Lancaster 41.5, 3.Platteville 30.0, 4.Prairie du Chien 24, 5.Dodgeville 21.0,6.Richland Center 8.0.
Final individual SWC Standings — 1.Zach Hentrich, L, 227, 2.Paker Wilken, Pla, 210, 3.Kris Graewin, PdC, 196, 4.Nate Achterberg, RV, 184.5, 5.Nathan Farrey, L, 179, 6.Robb Guss, RV, 178.5, 7.Aaron Feiner, RV 178, 8.John Van De Hey, L, 175.5, 9.Alex Wedige, RV 161.5, 10.Graham Westley, RV, 153.5.
Kohler 338, Platteville 390
(from Saturday, May 19 @ Whistling Straits, par 72)
Medalist — 1.Logan Willis, K, 76.
Platteville (338) — Parker Wilken 90, Quincy Pick 92, Everett Ellingson 103, Alex Iverson 105, Josh Beck 118, Jessica McDermott 125.