GLENWOOD CITY — Can the Glenwood City golf team win a fourth consecutive Dunn-St. Croix conference championship?
That is the question.
And head coach Ron Johnson and his golfers hope to answer that question in the affirmative.
A year ago, the Hilltoppers steam-rolled their way to an unprecedented third consecutive conference title winning all nine of the conference meets including a 19-stroke win over runner-up Mondovi in the 18-hole conference championship tournament.
Glenwood City parlayed its regular season dominance into a 22-stroke regional win but the season ended on a sore note the following week when the squad finished a disappointing fourth in the WIAA Division 3 golf sectional; missing a second straight trip to the state tournament.
While Coach Johnson does not expect this year’s squad to post such a dominating performance he believes that the 2015 edition of the Glenwood City golf team can compete for a fourth straight Dunn-St. Croix title despite a couple of key roster losses.
Graduation took just three players from last year’s championship team but two of them were starters – Nick Mrdutt and Jordan Hill.
Ray Aarons also graduated.
Nick Mrdutt left some big, spiked shoes to fill. Mrdutt was a four-year varsity starter and first-team all-conference selection, who won the D-SC’s medalist title as a sophomore.
But the Toppers have their number one player from a year ago – senior Jake Hierlmeier – returning to the team. Hierlmeier is a four-year varsity letterwinner and starter and has captured the conference’s top individual award the past two years running and should be in the chase for a third.
Joining Hierlmeier are juniors Garret Schemionek and Nathan Mrdutt, both returning varsity letterwinners and first-team, all-conference golfers.
But Johnson admits that filling the remaining two openings on the varsity roster will be a challenge and could prove to be Glenwood City’s weak link.
There are however some solid players that will be vying for those open spots.
Johnson said that senior Bill Norenberg along with juniors Matt Wink and Nathan Hill and freshman Collin Schone will be competing to fill those openings.
Schone and fellow freshman Emma Scholler are a pair of youngsters that will be a big part of this squad and those into the future.
“We need to start developing the younger people on the team, so if it’s not this year, then it could be next year when they are ready and have a chance to compete at the varsity level,” stated Johnson.
“But as always, we want to win the conference, regional and sectional meets and participate in the state tournament,” Johnson said of his team’s goals.
In order to do that, the Hilltoppers will have to rise to the challenge that last year’s runner-up Mondovi and Spring Valley will bring to the course this season.
The Cardinals feature freshman phenom Tyler Leach, who comes highly touted in his first-year of varsity eligibility.
The Toppers started the season with a fourth place finish in a 10-team invite at Spring Valley last Saturday and know they will have to improve quickly with several conference meets overall the next few weeks.
2015 GC Golf Roster
Seniors: Brandon Barstad, Jacob Hierlmeier, Bill Norenberg, Sam Melendrez
Juniors: Garret Schemionek, Nathan Hill, Nathan Mrdutt, Matt Wink, John Garland, Brett Bazille, Jacob Hennessy.
Sophomore: Nic Jensen
Freshmen: Emma Scholler, Collin Schone.