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Madison Edgewood girls golf coach Gierhart takes leave of absence

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You won't find many high school golf coaches that have had more success than the girls golf coach at Madison Edgewood, Peggy Gierhart. She led the Crusaders to 13 WIAA Division 2 state championships, not to mention coming off back-to-back state titles.

If the Crusaders are competing on the golf course this fall, you won't see their longtime head coach Gierhart there as their head coach. Due to personal reasons and concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, she has decided to take a a leave of absence from the team.

"I'm torn because golf is safe. You can social distance. Travel I think is a problem," said Gierhart.

"I think buses with masks are ok, maybe? I don't feel really comfortable with that." Gierhart continued. "Rain delays in small clubhouses and things like that. Maybe that's me being ultra nervous and again that's why I'm stepping back."

Gierhart has been with the program since 2002. She took over as head coach in 2003.

Coronavirus has impacted Gierhart's family and some of her close friends.

Her father, Ron Kelly also passed away in July. His death has affected her emotionally and she thought could impact her coaching this fall.

That tied in with the pandemic led to her decision to take a leave of absence.

"I'm sensitive to Covid. I don't feel like I want to coach in a position where I'm going to tell the girls, I feel like I'm going to make them nervous," said Gierhart.

She acknowledges that golf is one of the safer sports for athletes to play right now. It's outside and players can space out on the course.

Edgewood has yet to decide if they will particpate in fall sports. They have moved the start of "low risk" sports practice including girls golf, to Aug. 24.

Gierhart says she would consider coaching the team this spring if the season happens then and Covid numbers improve.

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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