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Zucker first-team all-Big 8

Butler, Wipfli and Johnson also named all-conference

 

June 15, 2017

Mary Langenfeld

Middleton junior Andy Zucker was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference.

Twelve months ago, Andy Zucker could fly under the radar on one of the best boys golf teams in Wisconsin.

Today, there's no missing Zucker.

Zucker, the No. 5 golfer on Middleton's state runner-up team in 2016, jumped to the No. 1 spot in the lineup in the Cardinals' revamped 2017 lineup.

And after a slow start, Zucker played like an ace the final six weeks of the year.

For his efforts, Zucker was named first team all-Big Eight Conference. Seniors Colin Butler and Brett Wipfli were named second-team all-conference, while senior Ross Johnson was named honorable-mention all-league.

Zucker, a junior, finished the year with a 79.95 average. Over the last six weeks of the year, Zucker didn't have a score eclipse 79.

Zucker finished second at the Big Eight Conference tournament, second at regionals and third at sectionals. "Andy had a great second half to the season," Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said.

Zucker was also rock solid at state where he finished 28th individually.

"I had a lot of fun," Zucker said of playing at state. "Playing as an individual is a lot different. My mindset was to be more aggressive. I like being under pressure and I like a lot of people watching."

Zucker certainly handled the pressure well, something Cabalka took note of.

"Great experience," Cabalka said of Zucker playing at state. "His confidence just continued to grow and this was a wonderful experience for him.

"It's tough when you're an individual and you're used to playing with a team. But he handled it really well and he made some really good decisions."

Butler averaged 81.64 and might have been a first-team all-conference selection if he hadn't missed two league matches.

Golfers count their top three scores in conference matches, the Big Eight Conference tournament and three at-large matches. The players' score is used, minus the course rating.

Because Butler missed two conference matches, he only had three scores to work with, leaving him no room for error.

"Colin would have had a great chance of making first team had he played in the other two conference matches," Cabalka said. "He had to count his 85 at Krueger (in Beloit), which really hurt his chances to be first team."

Wipfli was Middleton's best golfer early and helped keep the Cardinals on track. He struggled later in the season and finished with an average of 82.58

"Brett played well in the first half of the season with four rounds in the 70's," Cabalka said.

Like Wipfli and Butler, Johnson joined Middleton's varsity for the first time in 2017. Johnson had a solid year and finished with an 83.05 average.

"Ross missed second team all-conference by just a few hundredths, getting beat out by Brett for the last spot on the second team," Cabalka said.

Overall, Cabalka was extremely happy with what his 2017 Cardinals accomplished.

Mary Langenfeld

Middleton's Colin Butler was named second-team all-Big Eight Conference.

Middleton had to replace four all-conference players - including state Player of the Year Emmet Herb and all-state performers Joey Levin and Brady Thomas - yet still fielded another terrific squad.

The Cardinals tied for the Big Eight Conference dual meet title. Middleton then won the conference tournament and a regional title, before falling narrowly short of state.

"I was very proud of this group with how they improved so much throughout the season," Cabalka said. "Each and every day they worked to get better, and by the end of the season they were a very different group of players. I don't think I have coached a group of players that improved as much as these guys."

 
 

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