UW-Whitewater wins third consecutive WIAC Championship

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater won its third WIAC Championship in a row to automatically qualify for its third NCAA Division III tournament in a row. Pictured here from left, assistant coach Jeff Schmidt, Ashton Sinak, Kelly Storti, Ashley Hofmeister, CheyAnn Knudsen, Kristin Bowe and head coach Andrea Wieland.

REEDSBURG — CheyAnn Knudsen was coming off a tough second round, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach Andrea Wieland knew she needed her senior to bounce back in the final round if she wanted her Warhawks to earn their third-straight conference championship.

“She’s [Knudsen] a player I know if I say, ‘I need you right now’, she’s like, ‘I got it,’” Wieland said.

Knudsen carded a score in third round that was 10 strokes better than her score in the second round as she helped the Warhawks capture their third straight WIAC golf title Sunday at Reedsburg Country Club in Reedsburg.

The Warhawks three-day score of 933 (314-314-305) set a conference and program record.

“This was pretty amazing,” Wieland said. “I think they (conference championships) only get sweeter.”

The score was eight strokes better than runner-up UW-Stout.

After an 83 in round two, Knudsen tied a career best with a 73 in her final round, on her way to finishing with a 232 (76-83-73).

“I started off really well with my irons,” said Knudsen regarding her final round. “Usually I’m a little bit shaky with my irons. I can usually hit every fairway and my putting and short game is usually super good, but sometimes my irons can get me in trouble. Today, my irons were spot on.”

“I knew she was going to pull through for us,” Wieland said.

The score was good for third overall in the 64-player field. UW-Stout’s Trystin Kluess ended with the best score at the conference tournament with 226 strokes.

The Warhawks had four other players in the top 10, with three earning medals with top-eight finishes.

Senior Ashley Hofmeister tied for fourth overall with a 233. Hofmeister shot a 77 on the first day, a 79 in the second round and a 77 again in her final round.

Senior Kristin Bowe placed sixth overall with a score of 236. Bowe started off the tournament with an 81, carded a 78 in the second round and tied a career best with a 77 in her third round.

Bowe posted a personal best and her score was counted as a top-four for the Warhawks in all three rounds golfing out of the No. 5 spot in the lineup. Wieland called it “the best performance” of the day as her score was farthest under average of UW-Whitewater golfers.

Finishing eighth overall in the field was senior Kelly Storti, who fired a 238 (84-76-78). Sophomore Ashton Sinak tied at the 10th spot with a 240 (80-81-79).

Play was suspended Saturday due to conditions and the second round was finished on Sunday morning. The break in play in round two was much needed for the Warhawks, who were struggling to perform given the rainy conditions.

“We just said we were blessed by the golf Gods that we got that delay with the rain,” Knudsen said. “It was like a halftime, we needed that.”

Added Wieland, “It was just horrible conditions and when things started to go bad, it just kept raining and it can be hard to get out of that funk. We definitely needed a timeout.”

They got it, they reset and they completed their third consecutive title.

Of the Warhawks’ top four finishes, three scored, or tied for their best round in the third round.

“It was just amazing, they played so well, I couldn’t be happier,” Wieland said. “It’s just so exciting to be apart of. I had goosebumps today from some of the shots they hit.”

With the conference championship, the Warhawks earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been able to have,” Knudsen said. “My team is amazing, we have such a great chemistry with each other and we’ve worked really for the past three consecutive championships.”

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