State berth eludes Merrill golfers
An excellent season finally came to a close when the two Bluejay golfers came up short of an individual state berth during WIAA sectional play on Tuesday at the Stevens Point C.C.
Junior Mike Pagel carded a 41-43-84, fourth-best of the eight individual qualifiers, while freshman Max Baranczyk hit a 46-48-94, seventh-best of the individuals. Pagel tied for 27th overall and Baranczyk was 45th of 48 golfers.
“Max and Mike played hard but struggled with their games,” MHS coach Joe Mertens said. “Max had the hooks for the day which caused him tree trouble and multiple penalties and a score of 94, and Mike found his irons to be off resulting in pressure being put on his short game for which he managed an 84. A score of 77 advanced to the state meet.
“The boys were disappointed, but understood they needed to be at their best to advance to state. They will both get another chance next year.”
The Jays capped off a season that saw them earn a runner-up Valley finish.
“It was an excellent year,” Mertens said. “Scoring averages came down and some as much as five shots. The most improved award going to senior Mitchell Finnegan who improved his average by seven shots this year from 97.0 to 90.0. Other awards went to freshman Max Baranczyk, capturing the lowest season average of 84.2 and most valuable player honors. Max’s highlights came during our invitational where he grossed a 79, and an 81 at regionals to advance to sectional play. Senior Cody Guenther received the team leadership award on varsity and has provided the team with leadership and solid play.
“Other seniors graduating are long time golf team member Travis Baacke, Sam Lau and Trevor Pike. Returning varsity players include next year’s seniors Kevin Lee, Mike Pagel and Philip Guenther. If the team stays together, we anticipate another solid year next season with similar goals of doing well in conference and repeating the victories at our invitational, Wausau city meet, and advancing the team to sectional play.”
Valley champ SPASH captured the team title by four strokes over Eau Claire North. Point junior Trevor Thomas was the medalist with a 38-32-70, while freshman Taylor Thomas and senior James McDonald tied for third with 76’s.
Team standings-SPA­SH 305, Eau Claire North 309, River Falls 316, EC. Memorial 317, Marshfield 330, Wausau West 334, Hudson 334, D.C. Everest 342.