WIAA state golf: Arrowhead freshman Jessica Guiser set to make her state tournament debut

Mark Stewart

| Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mike Breaker can never tell how Jessica Guiser is doing.

While it’s safe to assume Arrowhead’s freshman standout is playing well, the Warhawks longtime coach can never gauge where she stands when it comes to the ups and downs of the game that all players face.

Her poker face is already stellar.

“She is so steady, so consistent,” Breaker said. “If you watch her when she hits a shot, it’s the same routine every time. If she makes a birdie and does something really well, she’s happy. If she makes a bogey, the facial expression and body demeanor are the same.”

There you have a secret to success for a golfer who has played beyond her years this season.

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A standout on the Wisconsin PGA junior circuit, Guiser entered the season with high expectations. She has lived up to them, earning the player of the year in the Classic 8 Conference and going toe-to-toe, if not beating many of the southeast Wisconsin’s top players.

This week she’ll match up with the state’s best this season at the WIAA state tournament on the Meadows Valley Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.

She’ll be in mix for a top finish and could help the Warhawks win their third Division 1 state title in five years.

For a freshman to win a state title or even challenge for one is a major feat. One of the most recent to do it in Division I was 2019 Arrowhead graduate Emily Lauterbach, who tied for 13th as a freshman.

This is a year, however, state tournament experience doesn’t matter as much as past years. Due to COVID-19, the tournament will be played in Kohler rather than University Ridge where many players in the field have competed the past two or three state tournaments.

“Kids get to know that course, where (this year) they’re not,” Breaker said. “They’re not going to know the little tendencies.”

Also, due to the pandemic some schools decided not to play golf this fall. The most notable is Bay Port, which left 2019 champion Jo Baranczyk unable to defend her title. Middleton’s Glenna Sanderson, who tied for 10th last season, was another top player expected to return this year whose school isn’t playing this fall.

Even with those players in the field, Guiser would be a threat. She comes to state fresh off a couple of strong postseason performances. She shot a 5-under 67 at Broadlands to win the regional title. At the sectional, she fired a 4-over 76 on a windy day at Oakwood to finish one stroke behind Brookfield Central’s Sarah Balding, last year’s state runner-up.

Guiser’s presence has helped Arrowhead rise from a team that finished fourth last year behind Middleton, to a serious title contender. With Guise and junior Lauren Peterson at the top of the lineup, Arrowhead has two No. 1-caliber players.

Peterson, a three-time state qualifier, finished 17th last season at state. Seniors Kylie Lanza (24th) and Jada Chang (37th) and sophomore Kaitlyn Amtmann (58th) all played a state last season.

This year’s trip to state could special for them and the new kid on the block.

“What I’ve noticed the most about her is she’s been really accepted well by her teammates,” Breaker said. “She was really looking to do golf this fall because it’s a team thing and everything else was so individual. To see the kids supporting her and her supporting the other kids from my viewpoint has been the neatest thing to see.”

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