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Monticello boys' golf team photo

Members of the Monticello boys’ golf team pose at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington during October’s Class 1A state tournament. From left, assistant coach Jenna Stanko, assistant coach Dan Henry, junior Sam Davison, freshman Maddux Quick, junior Will Ross, senior Tanner Buehnerkemper, freshman Kross Reynolds, freshman Andrew Neef and coach Andrew Turner. Turner is The News-Gazette’s All-Area boys’ golf team Coach of the Year after his ninth season leading the Sages.

All-Area boys' golf Coach of the Year: Monticello's Andrew Turner

➜ Why he’s Coach of the Year: Turner’s ninth season running the Sages included one of the program’s best-ever finishes as a group. Monticello claimed eighth place in the Class 1A state tournament after winning the 1A Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin Regional plaque and grabbing runner-up status in the 1A Beecher Sectional. Among Turner’s state-scoring four were a pair of All-Area first-team selections in Will Ross and Tanner Buehnerkemper, but freshmen Maddux Quick and Andrew Neef rounded out that quartet while freshman Kross Reynolds and junior Sam Davison also competed for the Sages.

➜ Turner weighs in on what this season meant to him and his athletes ... “This year’s boys’ team had a lot of unknowns. We had two returning players, Tanner and Will, who we were confident would be two of the best in the area. However, the rest of our team would be almost all newcomers, including several freshmen. Early in the season, it became pretty clear that we had some young players who were more advanced than we anticipated. Our two captains, Tanner and Will, did a great job all year of being patient and leading these younger players.

“We entered the Bismarck Regional feeling confident we could win it if we played like we were capable. Fortunately, we did win the regional and advanced to the Beecher Sectional. The sectional was a great experience for our team, as we went up to Crete to play a practice round the day before. Our team played six holes in the practice round before it started pouring. The kids made the best of it and turned the fairway into a slip and slide. The next day, we really performed well on a tough course. Our second-place finish allowed us to advance to state.

“Our focus at state was to finish in the top eight teams out of 12 on Day 1, which would qualify us to play on the last day of the golf season. It literally came down to three teams on the last hole vying for the last spots. We were fortunate to be one of those teams to advance and play on the final day, eventually finishing eighth at state. It was a truly fun season.”

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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