Nekoosa High School initiates inaugural girls golf team
By Rapids City Times Staff
NEKOOSA – Nekoosa High School is initiating their first girls golf team into WIAA competition.
“For the last 10 years, girls have been part of our boys golf program, operating as a co-ed team,” explained Coach Jen Jackson. “Several years there was enough interest to have a separate team, but it never moved beyond talks. Last year there was a contingent of girls who could play the game or wanted to learn, but would struggle to score during meets because they were going against boys in our conference.
“For several years the boys coach, Phil Rokser, and I have been talking about separating the program, and because of the numbers of girls he was having go out for the co-ed team we decided now was as good a time as any to make the move.”
Jackson came on board in the spring of 2018, when talk began on creating two golf teams, but Jen added, “Coach Rokser and I had been talking about making the two teams for the last three or four years.”
Jen said she and Coach Rokser gain assistance from players, Jade Hildebrand and Britt Cyboran, in formation of the team. “Athletic Director Paul Hahn was also very supportive, but we knew we had to operate as a club for the first year because of missing the WIAA deadline to apply for the sport,” she said.
“This season will be exciting as we were a club last year and had to play an independent schedule including several dual meets and taking part in a few Cloverbelt and Coulee conference meets. This season we will be a member of the Coulee Conference and that means the girls have a chance for a conference and individual titles that they weren’t able to try for last season.”
Jackson said that top players on the team are Jade Hildebrand (12) and Britt Cyboran (12), who played two seasons on the co-ed team.
“Several times throughout the season last year they placed in the top five at meets, showing how well they can play with this level of competition,” Jen added.
The team will return Gwen Moffett (12), Hailey Brown (12), and Izzy Escamilla (10).
“Kit Krotzman (12) is also returning, but she was only able to join us for a couple meets last year, but looks to be a contender for a spot as well,” Jen stated. “There is also a lot of interest from younger players who will be looking to join the team, and I am very excited to see how the program could grow into possibly needing a JV squad in the future.”
The Papermakers’ home course is The Lakes at Lake Arrowhead in Rome, where they practice daily on the driving range, putting green, or play several holes.
“I think that if our girls continue to improve this season as much as they did last year, we could place very well in conference play,” Jackson said. “We will be going up against two dynamite teams every meet from Arcadia and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, but that will only make the girls play their best. We play in some tough invitationals to start off the season, including hosting our own, which will help us to see where we can go as a team this season. It is going to be a great year and I can’t wait to see what Papermaker Golf can accomplish this fall.”
Practice begins Aug. 12.