Madison Edgewood spent the entire season playing under pressure as the defending Division 2 state champions and the top-ranked team.

The Crusaders ended on top of the D2 heap once again, winning the team title with 702 strokes on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona.

“I thought it came down to patience and accepting that out total score was going to be higher than it was last year due to the golf course and nerves,” Edgewood coach Peggy Gierhart said.

Edgewood matched Madison West’s boys golf program with a record 15 state titles. All of those championships have come since 2001, which is a state record across all divisions.

Senior Grace Welch won the individual state title with a two-day total of 14-over-par total 158, eight strokes ahead of Prescott’s Ava Salay.

“I love this team and love that we did this together,” Welch said. “That’s definitely more important to me. The coaches put so much work into it, and I’m grateful for them.”

Edgewood led Prescott by 29 strokes (347-376) after the first day of competition Monday, Oct. 14, and ended up 71 strokes better.

“(Assistant coach) Betsy (Zadra) and I have had a lot of experience on this course, so that’s good and bad,” Gierhart said. “We thought we might have given them too much information on the first day, but it’s a positive that we know the course.”

St. Croix Central (790), Osseo-Fairchild/Fall Creek (800), Xavier (801) and Wrightstown (842) rounded out the team scores.

Welch fired a 4-over-par 76 in the first round. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay commit had five birdies and led Salay by five strokes. She closed with an 82.

Welch’s victory gave her four top-five finishes in her illustrious Edgewood career. She finished third as a freshman, fifth as a sophomore and tied for third as a junior.

Crusaders junior Caitlyn Hegenbarth finished eighth overall with a two-round total of 175. She recorded birdies on the par-5 11th and par-4 18th en route to a 41 on the back nine in the first round, and shook off a 10 on the par-4 4th hole to card an 87.

Hegenbarth closed the tournament with an 88, shooting 41 on the front and 47 on the back. She now has three top-10 finishes at state (fifth last year and 10th as a freshman).

“Knowing my score will help the team to possibly win pushes me to play better,” Hegenbarth said. “You have to keep it straight and in play out here.”

Senior Anaka Leske, another four-year letterwinner, tied for 11th with two rounds of 91.

Junior Grace Jaeger finished 15th with a two-day total of 187 (93-94). She tied Welch for third last year, and was 15th as a freshman.

Sophomore Alyssa Thao tied for 17th with a two-day total of 193 (98-95).