Freshman Baranczyk Hopes to Make Strong Run at State
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – For being only a freshman, Bay Port’s Jo Baranczyk has made a big impact so far this season. She’s hoping it’s only the start.
Baranczyk and the rest of the Lady Pirates golf team begin postseason play this week when they take part in the WIAA Regionals on September 27 at Brown County.
The top four teams will advance to the Notre Dame Sectional on October 3 at Thornberry Creek, with just the top two teams from there advancing to the WIAA state meet in Madison on October 9.
Even if Bay Port doesn’t advance to team state for the first time ever, Baranczyk is a lock to do so individually based on her performance this year. Out of the five Fox River Classic Conference meets, she took first four times and tied for second the other. Baranczyk most recently won the conference championship on September 22 at Wander Springs, where she shot a 7-over par 79 to win by 4 shots over Green Bay’s Kaci Duquaine.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve done so far this year,” said the player of the year, who had a stroke average of 39.50, which was over four shots per nine holes better than her nearest competitor. “My goal was to average under 40, so I was glad to do that. It’s been an awesome year.”
True to her humble character, Baranczyk puts her team first and says it wouldn’t be possible without them and second-year coach Jeff Johnsen.
“My teammates have been awesome and improved a lot this year,” Baranczyk said. “Our ultimate goal is to get to team state, but if that doesn’t happen, I’d still like to get there as an individual.”
“Coach Johnsen is an awesome coach. He’s doing a great job and I love him as a coach. He’s always there for us. He asks if I want pointers and when I need help, he always gives good advice.”
Baranczyk started golfing when she was six years old, but it wasn’t until she was 13 that she thought she could do something special.
“Two years ago, I won the Arrowhead Invite on the Wisconsin Junior PGA circuit,” said Baranczyk. “That was a big win for me and got me more excited. I was very surprised, but it was a very good feeling.”
Jo’s older brothers Max and Jed have both been state qualifiers in the past, and the senior Jed finished runner-up last year at the WIAA individual state tournament. Jo’s parents, Ricci and Mary Beth, have always been around golf as well, so it’s been a natural progression for one of the best golfers in the state.
“They’ve always pushed me to try more and be better,” said Baranczyk about her brothers. “For years I’ve been playing off the white or blue tees with them, so they’ve pushed me to be better. It’s always a good feeling to beat them.”
Baranczyk thinks a top-five finish individually at state would be a realistic goal for this year, but hopes a state championship in the future is attainable.
“Jo is a tireless worker who is incredibly self-motivated,” said Johnsen. “She is always looking to improve her game, even after a successful year. She is also very impressive in balancing a demanding golf schedule with other interests such as fishing, hunting and hanging with her friends. She has taken a role within the team as a freshman and the rest of the team embraced her from the start. The future is bright for her.”
Note: after finishing last in the FRCC two years ago as a team and tied for sixth last year, the Lady Pirates tied for second this season with Green Bay Preble. Notre Dame won the title.
Email Rich ([email protected]) or find him on Twitter (@richpalzewic).