Lena’s McVane tabbed the area’s top golfer

Wildcats also the top team after state appearance
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Several area boys golf teams enjoyed successful spring seasons, but it was Lena that stole the headlines toward the end of the season after qualifying for state.

Braden McVane led the Wildcats on the course throughout the season and earned the NEW Media Inc. Golfer of the Year honor for his standout efforts.

“This season was a ton of fun, every person on the team including my two coaches made this a season to remember,” said McVane. “There was never a dull moment throughout the whole season with the guys on the team and the coaches. Also another big thing that helped me play well this season was the fact that I never stopped golfing through the offseason. I was always either going to a heated driving range, going to simulators, or putting in my basement.”

McVane played as Lena’s No. 1 golfer and turned in the team’s top rounds more often then not during the season.

The junior finished as the top golfer in the Marinette & Oconto Conference, while helping the team to a conference title.

When the calendar flipped to postseason action, McVane continued to excel for the Wildcats. The golfer attributed his success to his mental state.

“Coming into this season one of my main goals was to be positive no matter the situation, even when I got into a shaky position, I always kept my head high,” said McVane. “This was probably the biggest key factor that helped me get them low rounds. All I thought about when I hit a bad shot is that I am out golfing and playing the sport I love — there is no reason I shouldn’t be enjoying myself.”

McVane turned in a strong round of 83 at the Bonduel Regional to help the team win a regional title. At the Crivitz Sectional, McVane led the team with a round of 82 to help the team place second and qualify for state.

Even on the state’s biggest stage, McVane didn’t let the pressure get to him.

The junior fired a round of 86 in the first state round to sit in a tie for 14th. McVane carded a round of 79 on the second day of competition, propelling him to a seventh-place finish as an individual.

“I would say the highlight of the season was definitely being at state and being able to spend a few days with just the team and my coaches,” said McVane.

Honorable mentions

The area had no shortage of strong individual golfers, with pretty much every team having a player or two that excelled.

Bonduel had a strong year as a team, winning the Central Wisconsin Conference crown and then narrowly missing out on qualifying for state as a team. Reed Luepke and Jake Dreyer led the Bears most of the season and earned all-conference first team spots for their efforts. Colin Margelofsky and Jaxon Bogacz were second teamers.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood placed second in the CWC and qualified for sectionals as a team. The Chargers were led by Dylan Resch and August Barke, who were first-team selections. Joey Seegmiller was an honorable mention.

Marion’s Sam Gueths was the lone individual golfer to qualify for sectionals.

Kadyn Riel and Caden Leonhardt led Oconto Falls this spring, making the second team and honorable mention list, respectively, in the North Eastern Conference. The Panthers also made sectionals as a team.

Shawano’s Luke Guenther was an honorable mention golfer in the Bay Conference, while Pulaski’s Brady Hayward and Colin Schultz were honorable mentions in the Fox River Classic Conference. Pulaski also reached sectionals as a team.

Team of the Year

Lena also earns the area Team of the Year honor after its conference and regional titles and state appearance.

The state appearance was the first in school history for Lena. Mason Belongia, Mason Spice, Drake Dionne and Evan VanderZanden joined McVane on the state team.

All five members of the team place inside the top 10 golfers in the M&O. McVane, Belongia and Dionne were all on the first team, while Spice and VanderZanden made the second team.

What’s most impressive with Lena’s memorable spring is that the starting lineup was comprised of all sophomores and juniors, meaning the entire team will return next spring with eyes on a state title.