Allison Paleka will be Badgerís leading returner next season.
October 02, 2012 | 05:18 PMJANESVILLE — After a last-place finish at the Southern Lakes Conference meet, things didn't get any easier for the Badger girls golf squad Sept. 26 at the Janesville Craig Regional.
With Division 1 heavyweights like Janesville Parker and Milton, the Badgers were hoping to finish strong. Thanks to some improvement individually, Badger finished the season strong though it may not have seemed like it on the score sheet.
Badger shot a 484, taking last place out of seven teams. Milton took first with a 329, followed by Parker (343), Burlington (403) and Fort Atkinson (408). Milton went on to win the Badger Sectional Monday at Grand Geneva with a 331.
Badger senior Kate Russell shot a season-high 113 for 18 holes, which tied her SLC meet total. Senior Emma Domke was next with a 121, and junior Allison Paleka added a 122. Sydney Davis shot a 128, and Taylor Kundert had a 129.
"It was a tough regional," Badger coach Phil Huff said. "The course was fair. We ended on the best note we could. Kate had a pretty good day. Allison played well, and she will be back next year. I'm impressed with how far Domke came. We will be better next year."
For Russell, who played her last varsity match, it was one of her better performances, but it has been a struggle this season.
"For this season, it wasn't a bad day," she said after the regional. "I haven't been shooting the greatest. It was probably my best round of the year. I was happy with my longer shots, which haven't been going well all year. My putting was very bad."
Russell said she always had fun despite this season's struggles. She will miss the Badger golf program.
"It's so sad," she said. "I've had so much fun. It's been an amazing ride. I'm so grateful I joined. We did awesome at going out and putting forth our best effort. I've gotten to play with some amazing people. All four years, I can remember people who helped me pull through."
Russell said Huff, former coach Jim Gaugert and assistant coach Sarah Eiserman all helped her throughout her career.
Russell said she truly loves the game.
"You are outdoors in the fresh air," she said. "You're away from everything else."
Huff, whose squad was near the top of the SLC a year ago, said this season has been challenging.
"It's been more frustrating for me than the players," he said. "I want to help them so much and want them to do well. But I can't run out there and hit shots for them. A couple times I wanted to do that. But it's all about the next shot."
Huff said the girls must play more in the summer if they are serious about improving, but he isn't going to push that. He likes to use the end of July for open range time for his club.
What will Huff take away from this season?
"I admire the girls' willingness to keep giving their best effort even when things weren't going well," he said.