Kate Munro and Aubrie Torhorst will be flying solo at the WIAA State Girls Golf Championships this week, something that hasn’t happened to a Racine County girls golfer in seven years.
Munro, a Prairie School senior, and Torhorst, a Waterford junior, are the only state qualifiers this fall at the 46th annual tournament, which gets underway Monday at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona.
This is the first time since 2010 that Racine County was not represented by at least one team at the state tournament. Prairie made seven straight appearances during that stretch, winning three Division 2 state titles, including the last two, and two runner-up finishes. Union Grove qualified twice as a team in Division 1 during that stretch.
Munro does keep another impressive streak alive for the Hawks. Each year since Prairie began its girls golf program in 2008, the team has been represented at state. Munro played at state the previous two years, helping the Hawks win two straight titles, and she won a medal by finishing fifth last year.
Prairie had a very young, inexperienced team this fall and while Munro is disappointed the team didn’t go, she’s happy where she’s at.
“It would have been more fun to be there as a team, but I’m happy to get another chance,” Munro said.
Munro knows the course pretty well and has confidence going in that she can earn another medal, perhaps one of a different color than last year.
“I feel like I pretty well know where to hit the ball and where the best locations are on the green,” Munro said. “I know that if I can play well, I can keep myself in it.”
Prairie coach Carrie Massey expects nothing less from Munro.
“I think overall, she’s playing the best golf she’s played in her high school career,” Massey said. “She’s swinging the club well and has a lot of confidence going in.
“Being on two state championship teams is going to be something to help her as she goes into it this time. She was a huge part of us winning and she knows how to handle pressure. She’s really consistent and when she gets to a tournament, she steps up her game.”
Waterford has its own streak going. Torhorst, making her first state appearance, is the third Waterford individual to qualify for state in the past four years. Breanna Bertschinger was the first in 2014 and Taitum Beck played last year, tying for 14th. The Wolverines haven’t advanced as a team since 1980.
Torhorst hadn’t seen the course before her practice round Sunday morning, but she feels very good about her game.
“I’m just going out there and competing the best I can compete for myself,” Torhorst said. “I’ll think about it and get more specific on how to play the course. We’ll see how it goes.
“I have a mindset where there’s no pressure in having to qualify for anything. I just want to play the best I can.”
Waterford coach Robb Shales, who coached Beck last year, said Torhorst has a game suited for University Ridge.
“University Ridge is a course where I think she can play well,” Shales said. “I’m confident she can put together two very solid rounds. She’s in a place right now with her game where she feels very comfortable.”