The BHS golf team poses last month at Riverside Golf Course in Janesville. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

It wasn’t the ideal conclusion to head coach Nick Schilleman’s first season as Burlington High School girls varsity golf coach.

But on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Riverside Golf Course in Janesville, the Lady Demons learned valuable lessons of loyalty, hard work and participation despite missing out on any further advancement in the WIAA postseason.

BHS junior Sage Heelein, who was doing Advanced Placement, or AP, homework in the clubhouse immediately after her solid round of 108, was the top Demon finisher.

While she showed gains this fall, Heelein wants to take her game to another level next year.

“I’m a little bit disappointed,” Heelein said after her performance. “There’s always next year. Just keep on moving and keep practicing.”

Heelein’s front-9 of 51 was strong at first, but tailed off with a few big numbers.

She suffered several scores of 8 on the back-9 (58).

Heelein juggles three AP classes, honor classes, no study hall and golf. She enjoys staying busy.

“I like challenging myself,” Heelein said. “I think my season went OK, it was mediocre.”

“For the rest of the school year, I will be practicing golf and trying to get a few rounds in. It’s going to take lots of practice to get to sectionals next year. Every shot matters in golf.”

Serra Brehm (119) and McKenzie Plitzuweit (132) were the other participants in the regional, which saw Milton (330) and Lake Geneva Badger (347) advance to sectionals Tuesday.

Badger’s Holly Murphy was the medalist with a 74, while Elkhorn’s Ryley Rand also made the cut for sectionals with a 96.

Schilleman said his regional trio improved greatly over the course of the season.

Senior Victoria Filler had to miss the event because of an injury.

“Sage started out real good, then had a few extra putts,” Schilleman said. “On the plus side, Brehm had a chip in for a par on a par-3, from like 40 yards out.”

“The girls were great this season. They learned a lot. McKenzie is going to be a crusher. She’s hitting probably close to 225-250 on her drives. It’s very good for a two-month-old golfer.”

Schilleman said he’s happy with the overall progress of his athletes.

Next year, he hopes to remain the coach and plans to recruit golfers at the middle school in the offseason.

The summer will include youth camps through the school district.

He said the school’s tennis program is so popular and strong, with 40 girls, so it can cut into golf participation.

But he’s confident there is enough interest among kids at BHS, some of whom didn’t even know there was a golf team.

Burlington finished in the bottom half of the Southern Lakes Conference.

Lake Geneva Badger won its first SLC title since 2010.