Wuollett Stands Tall Among The Boys
She may be small in stature, but Gibraltar High School senior Tori Wuollett stands tall among the boys as the only female Varsity golfer in the Packerland Conference.
For two years, Wuollett has been the solitary girl competing in conference, and she has proven to be a contributing factor on a competitive Viking team.
Last year, she earned her place on Varsity, securing the number five spot. (In competition, each team plays five players, ranked according to skill, and counts the top four scores).
“I think that’s the most challenging thing about playing with the boys – earning your spot – proving that you can play with them,” stated Wuollett.
Wuollett’s play as a junior lifted Gibraltar to a coveted trip to sectionals. A heart-breaking, one-stroke team differential kept the Vikings from advancing to the state tournament. Wuollett’s individual shining moment came at the Pioneer Invite at Horseshoe Bay, where she carded a remarkable nine-hole score of 37, and finished in the tournament’s top five.
A summer spent mostly working rather than playing golf did not help Wuollett’s game as she entered her senior golf season. The unseasonably cold spring without much practice did not help either. Ironically, one of her three summer jobs was working at Peninsula Golf Course, yet she barely found time to pick up a club.
Wuollett earned her place at the three spot as a senior, but she had a slow start and pleaded with her coach to drop her back down to number five.
“It’s all about confidence with Tori,” remarked Gibraltar’s head coach Matt Meacham. “Once we dropped her back, she starting playing much better.”
A solid season has found Wuollett steadily in the middle of the pack in conference. Teammate and friend Chris Janisee credits Tori’s score of 44 at a conference match at Idlewild with securing a Viking victory. “We needed Tori to shoot low that day,” commented Janisee. “She definitely won us that match.”
Wuollett’s long, fluid swing matches up against some of the best in the conference. Standing 5 foot 3 in golf spikes, and weighing less than 120 pounds, she finds strength in other forms. Wuollett’s only advantage in competition is found on the tee box, where she tees off from the red tees, while the boys drive from the whites.
“The guys are a lot stronger than I am – especially in the upper-body,” said Wuollett. “I know I can’t drive the ball 275 yards, so I have to drop strokes in other ways.”
Tori has earned her spot as well as the respect of her teammates and competitors. “I don’t look at her any different than Sammy,” quips Janisse, referring to his Gibraltar teammate Sam Johnson.
Janisse also believes that having a female teammate actually brings an unintended competitive edge. “Some guys are not used to playing with girls, and are kind of intimidated by her,” reflected Janisse. “They definitely don’t want to come into the clubhouse and have to tell everybody that they got beat by a girl.”
“It also helps when your boyfriend is the best player in the conference,” added Janisee of Tori’s longstanding relationship with Packerland Conference Champion, Ben Ehlers of Sevastopol.
The two met last year sharing a bus to one of the meets and have been dating ever since. “We’ve played against each other,” says Wuollett . “But when we do, we put our game faces on. We won’t even talk to each other.”
Wuollett comes from a family of golfers. Both of Tori’s parents play and got her started at the young age of seven. Her older brother Ryan had a standout high school career at Gibraltar, while younger brother Ethan competes as a freshman on Varsity alongside Tori.
After graduation, Wuollett plans to spend another summer working hard and saving for her education. She will enroll at Edgewood College in Madison in the fall.