GIBSON CITY – To suggest that Sierra Myerscough's 2010 postseason series has been a little smoother than the 2009 version is a bit of an understatement.
Myerscough shaved close to 30 strokes off her 2009 score and claimed medalist honors at the Class 1A Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Sectional on Monday with a 77, defeating LeRoy's Molly Marcum with a par on the first playoff hole.
"It feels incredible," Myerscough said. "This is a huge improvement from last year and it feels good that all of my hard work has paid off."
A year ago, Myerscough was a bit of a golf neophyte. No more. She'll lead the Sabers – who won the team title with a 344 total – into their return appearance this weekend at the state meet at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur.
"This summer I worked really hard and it showed," Myerscough said.
Myerscough and Marcum – who was 45th at state last fall – each finished 2 strokes in front of third-place Hannah Wiley of Kankakee Bishop McNamara. Her performance gave her a boost heading into the playoff at Railside Golf Club.
"I knew that Molly was a good player and I had to play my best," Myerscough said. "I knew she would do her (best). It just worked out in my favor.
"This puts a lot of confidence in me for state. I'm not expecting to shoot a 77 every time, but I'm expecting to shoot better than I have (in the past)."
Bishop McNamara was 17 strokes behind STM, which got an 86 from Megan Deedrich and an 88 from Kelsey Gallivan.
Third-place GCMS (363) also advanced, doing so for the first time in the program's history. The Falcons held off Effingham St. Anthony by 1 shot for the final qualifying spot.
Emily Spangler led the Falcons, finishing fourth with an 82. Her sister, Katie, had a career-low 91 thanks in part to an eagle on the fourth hole, as she holed out her shot from 150 yards.
Marcum and Tuscola's Stephanie Swaney, who shot a 93, will play at state as individuals.
At Pekin. Centennial's Lizzy Dombroski earned her fourth state berth after shooting an 81 to tie for second at Lick Creek Golf Course.
"Kind of an up-and-down day," Centennial coach Darren Tee said. "She kind of survived the front nine and played fairly well on the back nine."
Dombroski birdied the first three holes and endured a triple-bogey on No. 7 but rebounded.
"It wasn't all hitting greens and a lot of birdie putts," Tee said. "She had to make some 10-footers for par. The greens had been aerated in the last couple weeks and were a little bumpy, and putting is one of her strengths when she's on. She had to scramble a little bit."
Dombroski, the Big 12 Conference medalist, finished 1 stroke behind Mattoon's Tiffany Wolf. She'll head to Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur this weekend. It's a course Dombroski has played in summer events and one that Tee said he knows "very well.
"There was more pressure on her today than there was at state," Tee said. "All the pressure was just getting there. That was a huge relief for her to qualify today."
Mahomet-Seymour's Charlotte Goss faced an enormous challenge. Goss shot an 88 and tied for the final qualifying spot. Because of a new IHSA rule this year, Goss and three others had to go to a playoff for one state berth. Goss won it with a par on the first hole.
The Bulldogs placed seventh in the team standings.
In boys' action:
At Tuscola. St. Thomas More (318) and Salt Fork (320) finished second and third, respectively, to earn spots in the Class 1A state tournament at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.
Nathaniel Khachaturian led the Sabers with a 76 and Ben Dodds added a 77. The Storm got a 73 from David Keenan. Each school finished behind team titlist Effingham St. Anthony, which compiled a 299 total at Ironhorse Golf Club.
Monticello's Nick Huisinga and Judah Christian's Stephen Lowe led the area's individual qualifiers, each firing a 75.
St. Joseph-Ogden's Mason Silver advanced with a 76.
"I felt really good with how I hit the ball today," Silver said. "My driver's been all over the place lately and I really worked on that this week, along with my longer irons. That definitely helped out today. I was real happy with the way I hit a lot of fairways and greens, although my putting was not up to par."
Arcola's Brock Miller (79), Prairie Central's Kyler Hoffman (79) and Ridgeview's Jared Atherton (80) also moved on as individuals.
At Mount Vernon. Centennial's Peter Black will represent the Chargers at the Class 2A state tournament after firing a 2-over 73 at Green Hills Golf Club.
Black was one of 10 golfers who advanced to Weibring Golf Club in Normal as individuals. His team narrowly missed the third and final berth. The Chargers compiled a 307 total and finished fourth, 5 strokes behind third-place Waterloo.
At Dunlap. Seth Trolia and Garrett Cox shot an even-par 72 at Kellogg Golf Course to lead Mahomet-Seymour to a second-place team finish and a spot in the Class 2A state tournament.
The Bulldogs shot 299, tying Peoria Notre Dame (which won a tiebreaker for first) for the best score. M-S got a 77 from Adam Guth and a 79 from Andrew Larson.