Will Schlitz put it bluntly.

“That was absolutely brutal,” the Eau Claire Memorial golfer said. “I hope I never have to play in that again. If I do, I might have to quit.”

Schlitz was only partially joking. He certainly wasn’t alone in wanting to avoid another round of golf played through constant rain, whistling wind and temperatures hovering in the 40s.

But braving the elements proved to be worth it for Schlitz and his Old Abe teammates. They closed out the conference slate with a season-long Big Rivers championship on Thursday morning at Wild Ridge in Eau Claire.

“It feels really good to be champions,” Memorial’s Cole Fisher said. “Especially since we have a lot of young guys on the team, so it’s really cool to see us battle through that adversity.”

Hudson and Memorial scored 157s at Thursday’s meet, with Raiders senior Bennett Swavely earning medalist honors with a 35. Memorial’s performance was more than enough to ensure they finished atop the season-long standings, beating Hudson by eight points over the course of the spring.

Thursday’s meet was shortened from 18 to nine holes due to the weather, which affected each and every stroke.

It was so impactful that at one point, the wind reportedly blew a golfer’s push cart — and his clubs along with it — down a slick hill and into a water hazard.

“Every single shot was very well-earned,” Schlitz said.

The Old Abes weren’t interested in using the conditions as an excuse though.

“It’s probably the worst any of us have ever or will ever play in, but obviously everyone had to play in it,” Memorial’s Liam Sather said. “You’ve just got to do what you can and focus on yourself.”

The weather made for a softer, less forgiving course. Balls didn’t bounce like they might under normal circumstances, and golfers had to take new approaches to adapt.

“It was unlike any conditions I’ve ever played in before,” Fisher said. “By hole No. 3, you can’t really feel your hands. You’re just swinging and praying for it to go somewhere you like. It was definitely a battle out there today.”

Golf schedules leave little room for makeups, especially at this time of year. Regionals tee off early next week, and courses begin to host outings as the calendar creeps toward summer.

It meant the show was going to go on Thursday if at all possible.

Sather led Memorial with a 38, good for fourth place. Fisher was right behind at 39 and in fifth place.

Rice Lake’s Braeden Resnick took third, carding a 37.

The Old Abes had three first team all-conference performers in Schlitz, Fisher and Sather. They were joined on the first team by Hudson’s Swavely and Ben Pendleton and Rice Lake’s Resnick.

Memorial’s Parker Etzel and Ben Christenson, Menomonie’s Grant Imsande and River Falls’ Matt Marsollek took second team all-conference honors.

“It felt good to have three of us make the first team, and have most of the team make it on either first or second team,” Sather said. “It kind of just highlights our team’s success.”

Swavely finished atop the individual standings to earn Big Rivers player of the year distinction, holding off Schlitz and Resnick by 13 points.

Big Rivers Meet

At Wild Ridge

Team scores

1, Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial 157; 3, Rice Lake 170; 4, River Falls 178; 5, Eau Claire North 180; 6, Menomonie and Chippewa Falls 182.

Top individuals

1, Bennett Swavely (H) 35; 2, Ben Pendleton (H) 36; 3, Braeden Resnick (RL) 37; 4, Liam Sather (ECM) 38; 5, Cole Fisher (ECM), Joe Bartels (H), Joe Burbach (H), Grant Imsande (M) and Matt Marsollek (RF) 39.

Other finishers

Chippewa Falls: Brett Elkin 43, Aiden McCauley 45, Zach LeMay 45, Caden Kolinski 49, Brody Markert 60. Eau Claire Memorial: Will Schlitz 40, Ben Christenson 41. Eau Claire North: Caden Sutter 44, Carter Lee 45, Ty Thompson 45, Judah Kruit 46, Steffen Larson 48. Hudson: Brandon Hillman 42. Menomonie: Michael Maguire 46, Sedric Yukel 48, Wyatt Winsand 49, Sam Dahms 50. Rice Lake: Davin Hauck 44, Bergen Resnick 44, Bryce Brettingen 45, Carson Tomesh 47. River Falls: Trey Timm 44, Chris Chapin 47, Ethan Campbell 48, Dylan Rach 53.

Season standings


1, Eau Claire Memorial 46.5; 2, Hudson 38.5; 3, River Falls 38; 4, Rice Lake 24; 5, Eau Claire North 18; 6, Chippewa Falls 16; 7, Menomonie 15.