Two County Teams Advanced to State Tournament

It is a triumphant feat for most high school athletic teams to advance to the WIAA State Championships, regardless of sport. In a truly rare achievement, Door County claimed two state representatives at the WIAA Boys Division III Golf Championship.

Both Gibraltar/Washington Island and Sevastopol sent their respective golfers to the state championship, held June 4 and 5 at University Ridge in Madison. Gibraltar/Washington Island tallied a two-day score of 727, good for a sixth place tie, while Sevastopol finished at 779.

Although the course and competition in Madison may have been more than Door County could handle, sending two teams from the same county, conference, and sectional is an unprecedented accomplishment, and it did not come easy.

The Gibraltar Vikings golf team won the Regional Title with a score of 343, the best of their season and 20 strokes ahead of second place Coleman. (Left to right) Sam Higginbotham, Grant Heiman, Sammy Johnson, Coach Matt Meachem, Chris Jannise, Ethan Wuollett, and Assistant Coach Melissa Stimers advanced to the WIAA State Championship at University Ridge in Madison. Photo submitted by Andrea Heiman.

Though Gibraltar/Washington Island cruised to a regional victory at Golden Sands Golf Club, Sevastopol was the last team to advance out of the Bonduel region, squeaking past the host school by only four strokes.

Sevastopol head coach Tim Ullman admitted that he was concerned about their regional showing, but the extra opportunity was all the Pioneers needed as they flipped roles with Gibraltar/Washington Island and won the sectional championship at Pine Valley Golf Club.

“Following regionals, I asked the team to sell out, because we weren’t expected to win,” Ullman said. “And the kids responded.”

Led by Bryce Birmingham (84) and Sam Potier (87), Sevastopol carded a team total of 352.

It was then up to the Vikings to edge past the powerhouse of Stevens Point Pacelli in order to advance to state, and they did so by just two strokes. Seniors Sammy Johnson and Chris Janisee paved the way, firing an 84 and 87, respectively.

The duo of Johnson and Janisee, combined with stellar freshman Grant Heiman, proved to be the perfect recipe for the Gibraltar/Washington Island yet again, allowing the yearlong goal of a state berth to approach fruition.

“With Sam and Chris, we knew that we had two solid scores every time we went out and played,” head coach Matt Meacham noted. “Grant was the biggest surprise and has come through almost every time.”

It was the first trip for each golfer to WIAA competition at University Ridge, so both coaches were pleased with the experience their young golfers received. More than anything, however, they were happy to enjoy it with the in-county competitors that they have come to know very well.

Both squads were able to share the same hotel throughout the three-day trip as well as brief company of PGA Tour Professional Steve Stricker at the course Tuesday. In the end, it was almost as if Door County sent one big group of golfers to Madison.

“Having two teams down here, it was kind of a family atmosphere,” Meacham said. “I know both teams enjoyed it.”

Gibraltar/Washington Island

Sammy Johnson – 85, 89 = 174

Chris Janisee – 89, 84 = 173

Ethan Woulette – 92, 99 = 191

Grant Heiman – 99, 90 = 189

Sam Higgenbotham – 109, 100 = 209


Brandon Cole – 94, 99 = 193

Tyler Haen – 103, 93 = 196

Bryce Birmingham – 106, 87 = 193

Sam Potier – 94, 101 = 195

Conor Haen – 121, 118 = 239