Area golfers compete in the Class 1A St. Thomas More Regional at Lincolnshire Country Club in Champaign on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
CHAMPAIGN — When it comes to St. Thomas More girls’ golf, one thing has been guaranteed during the past three seasons.
A regional title with an Alaina Bowie medalist performance at the forefront.
Old habits die hard, it seems.
Bowie made it 4 for 4 in the latter regard Thursday with a 71 in the Class 1A STM Regional at Lincolnshire Fields Country Club, guiding the Sabers to a fourth consecutive crown via a 328 team total.
Tri-Valley’s 356 was the closest competition, while only fellow Sabers senior Sammy Miller joined Bowie under 80 with a runner-up and career-low 77.
“I was very pleased with our two seniors,” second-year STM coach Alan Dodds said. “Both those two showed great senior leadership and really, really showed up when it was important.”
Bowie, a Butler women’s golf commit, often espouses team results over individual outcomes. This is the latest chapter in the two-time reigning News-Gazette Player of the Year delivering on both fronts.
“She is cognizant of the fact that this is kind of the end of the line for her high school career,” Dodds said. “I was very confident she would play really well (Thursday).”
Bowie and Miller were backed by junior Mia Kirby’s 89 and sophomore Brooke Erhard’s 91.
The latter carding was particularly impressive considering Erhard returned to school Wednesday after a multi-week illness absence.
“I don’t think she swung a club in about two weeks,” Dodds said. “So for her to shoot 91 was, in my opinion, maybe a heroic effort.”
Owners of back-to-back fourth-place showings at the Class 1A state tournament, the Sabers worked ahead by logging a few rounds at Jacksonville Country Club — host of Monday’s 1A Jacksonville Routt Sectional — even before the regional in preparation for making another lengthy postseason run.
“In our top four players we’ve got a combined 16 rounds at state,” Dodds said. “So those girls should be very ready for all of the fun and excitement that comes next week.”
Monticello will join STM at the sectional thanks to a third-place team effort Thursday. Molly Stringer’s 81 and Ashley Long’s 84 helped the Sages to a 371 score, staving off Olympia (376).
Five other local individuals also clinched a sectional berth: Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin’s Allison Tucker (92), Mahomet-Seymour’s Ainsley Winters (96), LeRoy’s Charly Warlow (98), Armstrong-Potomac’s Anna Duden (98) and Oakwood’s Joie Sollers (105).
Class 2A Springfield Regional
Maroons push three ahead. Champaign Central will boast a trio of competitors in sectional action next week, a result of each girl’s effort at Thursday’s regional on Lincoln Greens Golf Course.
Cassie To’s 91, Dominick Fuentes’ 98 and Emily Fuentes’ 110 all were good enough to advance individually despite the Maroons placing fifth of seven teams.
“I’m definitely not surprised with it,” first-year Central boss Anthony Barrett said. “Dominick’s been on a hot streak right now. ... Cassie’s been strong all year long, and I knew this was going to be a good stepping stone for her. ... Emily getting out, that’s always great for her. She’s had her moments playing well.”
The challenge of each athlete continuing her season was made more difficult by poor conditions later in the tournament. Barrett said rain fell throughout the girls’ trips through the back nine.
“That’s just what these girls do,” Barrett said. “I know they can put their nose to the grindstone and grind out, power through.”
Things won’t get any easier in Monday’s 2A O’Fallon Sectional, as Barrett described Caseyville’s Far Oaks Golf Club as unique compared to Central’s typical slate of courses.
“Far Oaks is definitely going to be a different animal,” Barrett said. “It’s a lot more hilly. ... A lot more contours to the greens.”
Also making the sectional trip will be Rantoul/Paxton-Buckley-Loda’s Peyton Huls (117) and Centennial’s Camryn McClard (117), who earned the final two individual spots in this regional.
Class 1A Okaw Valley Regional
Warriors advance as unit. Lainey Banta recorded a 100 at Findlay’s Eagle Creek Golf Course on Thursday, pushing Tuscola to third place as a group with a 450 score and securing the Warriors a sectional date.
Makenna Fiscus added a 108 for Tuscola, which next heads to Monday’s 1A Jacksonville Routt Sectional at Jacksonville Country Club.
Also qualifying for that tournament were Sullivan’s Erin Wallace (118) and Alyssa Shriver (119), as individuals.
Class 1A Beecher Regional
Four locals move on. Watseka’s Natalie Schroeder led a quartet of area golfers in advancing from Thursday’s regional, her 88 the second-best mark among sectional qualifiers at Balmoral Woods Country Club in Crete.
Other locals snagging a spot in Monday’s 1A Peru St. Bede Sectional at Spring Creek Golf Course in Spring Valley were Iroquois West’s Adelynn Scharp (99) and McKinley Tilstra (100), as well as Hoopeston Area’s Payton Armstrong (111).
Class 1A Metamora Regional
Hawks shut out. Prairie Central’s season came to an end with a seventh-place display in Thursday’s regional at Metamora Fields Golf Club. The Hawks’ best finish was Ella Compton’s 101, which left her four strokes shy of an individual sectional spot.