Maroons are going back for more

Maroons are going back for more

SAVOY — The cell phone Mike Osterbur carried with him on Monday started heating up once Justin McCoy did, too.

Osterbur, Champaign Central's boys' golf coach, doubled as the official scorer during Monday's Class 2A sectional the Maroons hosted at the University of Illinois Orange Course.

Once Osterbur received word that McCoy, a sophomore for the Maroons, was at 5-under through 12 holes, he could hardly sit still.

"That's when I started wearing a hole in the carpet at the pro shop," Osterbur said, "because I was pacing circles around that room."

Osterbur will still have anxious moments left this season. But that's good.

Because Central will send its whole team to the 2A state tournament that tees off Friday in Normal after winning Monday's sectional tournament.

It's the second straight year Central will have its whole team compete at the state tournament after the Maroons tied for seventh at last year's event.

This year, though, they'll go in with confidence after posting a 302 on Monday, two strokes better than runner-up Normal U-High, last year's 2A state champion.

"They're finally getting their heads and their swings wired together," Osterbur said. "They've always had the talent. Maybe we're peaking at the right time, but we're getting ourselves mentally lined up with our talent."

None more so than McCoy, who finished with a 5-under 67.

"He's just been striking the ball so well lately," Osterbur said of his standout sophomore. "Nothing is broke with his game, so I don't try and fix anything. I get him a water and a snack whenever he's hungry, but he finished his round (Monday). On Sunday during our practice round, he was 2-under, and he played very well at the regional. The pros talk about being in the zone. For most of us, that's the twilight zone, but he got in a real good zone (Monday)."

So did the three other golfers who scored for Central. Seniors Conor Butts, Cage Sestak and Hayden Cekander all had rounds below 80, with Butts and Sestak coming into the clubhouse with 78s and Cekander finishing with a 79.

"Hayden four-putted the fifth green (Monday)," Osterbur said. "Had he done that a month ago, he'd be ready to stick his head in the oven and light the match. Now, it's over, he plays the next shot and the next hole. That's the kind of mentality they've developed this season."

A season that is far from over. Central shot the second-lowest round of the three 2A sectionals that took place across the state on Monday, with Lemont carding a 298.

"If this is a dream," Osterbur said, "I don't want anybody to plug the coffee pot in because I don't want to wake up yet."

But Osterbur knows Central has more quality rounds in it, and bigger expectations after last year's state tournament experience.

"I think we can just relax and try to have some fun over there," Osterbur said. "We're going in with confidence, but we just need to play our game. We can't try to be heroes. We have to play smart and see where the chips fall."

Around the area

Besides Champaign Central, two area individuals also advanced to state out of the sectional in Savoy. Clinton senior Chasey Reynolds advanced after shooting a 75 and Mahomet-Seymour senior Adam Woller made it through, too, with a 75.

Two area teams will compete this weekend at the 1A state tournament, which will take place at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington. Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin placed second at the 1A sectional the Blue Devils hosted at Harrison Park in Danville, posting a 321. Senior Hunter Keith won medalist honors with a 71 to pace BHRA, which also received solid rounds from seniors Skyler Mitchell (80), Cade Herriott (82) and Jake Sermersheim (88). Monticello was the third and final qualifying team to make it out of Harrison Park after the Sages shot a 327. Seniors Calvin Fisher (78) and Noah Wright (79) led Monticello, while junior Luke Stringer (83) and senior Cameron Dyson (87) also contributed.

LeRoy senior Caleb Poindexter (72), Tri-County senior Logan Richardson (75), Sullivan junior Caden Ellis (78) and LeRoy senior Michael Morgan (79) also advanced to state out of the BHRA Sectional.

On the girls' side, Champaign Central junior Mackenzie McCoy and senior Mia Hayasaki will be the area's lone representatives at the 2A state tournament, which tees off Friday at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur. McCoy carded a 78 to finish fifth as the Maroons placed seventh as a team with a 359. The top three teams advanced to state. Hayasaki will join her teammate at state after she compiled an 80 to tie for seventh.