COLFAX — Regis/Altoona girls golf was infrequently slowed down by its inexperience last fall.
Despite only boasting one senior, playing out of the No. 4 spot, the co-op claimed CloverCroix Conference championship honors. It got two girls to the individual state tournament in Elli Anderson and Lydia Jensen, both just sophomores at the time.
It was clear the program had talent, much of which returning for more prep action. And now?
“Now we have skill and experience,” coach Marc Lundquist said.
Four meets into the season Regis/Altoona is well on its way to repeat as conference champs. It has topped the leaderboard in every event, most recently finishing first among the league’s five teams Monday at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax.
Much of that is powered by depth Lundquist hasn’t seen in the program before. And it has those who went to state last year as individuals setting a new goal — getting to state as a team. Anderson expects that would be a lot more fun than going at it alone.
“I don’t think we’ve had a bad score yet,” Anderson said. “We have a chance to go to state as a team, which is really nice.”
Regis/Altoona has four players capable of finding themselves in the 40s, led by Anderson.
She was perfect entering Monday, having won the first three conference events, and displayed her high expectations after walking off the course at Whitetail. She tied for second with two of her teammates, a stroke behind Stanley-Boyd’s Emerson Felmlee. She remains atop the league leaderboard, a spot she’s held all year.
In total, Regis/Altoona has four of the CloverCroix’s top six golfers this season, a group that would receive all-conference first team honors if those rankings stand. A fifth, Elli’s sister Emma Anderson, sits just a point outside the group.
That’s made for strong internal competition. Six strokes separated the entire group Monday, with Elli and Emma Anderson and Karalyn Skinner tying for the program best.
Among the potential first-teamers is Elli Anderson, of course, and Jensen. Both said their experience last year, which included top-35 finishes at the state meet in Kohler, have helped them so far this season.
“Being able to have that experience there, knowing that I can possibly go again, I think is kind of pushing me to do better,” Jensen said.
“I had my best score this year so far, which definitely feels nice to do,” Elli Anderson added. “Not today, but slowly getting better and learning more.”
Regis/Altoona knew what to expect from those two. A newcomer, among the program’s freshmen, has been a bit more surprising.
Lundquist knew he was getting a strong golfer in Skinner, the daughter of UW-Eau Claire golf coach Darrin Skinner, but she’s already exceeded his expectations. Whitetail was her third runner-up finish of the year after two stellar showings in Mondovi. At the Stanley-Boyd meet, she finished third.
“She’s been solid all year, very consistent,” Lundquist said. “She’s been the No. 2 or 3 player all year, depending on the meet.”
Senior Sydni Yarrington rounds out the co-op’s representatives among the top six, currently slotted fourth in the year-long standings.
Regis/Altoona had a combination of youth and talent last year that pointed toward the program going on a multi-year run. Elli Anderson said she hopes that next step comes this year so the seniors can be a part of it.
Getting to the state tournament at University Ridge in Madison as a team won’t be easy. Prescott and St. Croix Central are among the best teams in the state and Regis/Altoona will see both on its playoff road.
But the group has the depth to contend.
“We have our work cut out for us, but it’s possible,” Lundquist said.
CloverCroix at Whitetail
1, Regis/Altoona 185, 2, Osseo-Fairchild 209, 3, Colfax/Elk Mound 226, 4.
1, Emerson Felmlee (S-B) 44, T2, Elli Anderson (R/A), Karalyn Skinner (R/A) & Emma Anderson (R/A) 45, T5, Lydia Jensen (R/A) & Eleice Dahl (O-F) 50.
Regis/Altoona: Sydni Yarrington 51. Osseo-Fairchild: Izzy Popple 55, Trinity Knudton 52, Brenna Seefeldt 52, Melanie Anderson 66. Colfax/Elk Mound: Olivia Clickner 54, Ella Reese 57, Emma Nechanicky 58, Brynna Streifel 63, Selena Clickner 57. Stanley-Boyd: Isabella Green 61, Carly Verneten 70. Mondovi: Julia Moats 51.