WEST DUNDEE – In an early practice before the start of the 2012 season, Crystal Lake Central girls golf coach Kathy Speaker took her team to Randall Oaks, the site of Monday's Class AA Burlington Central Sectional.
Sophomore Larisa Luloff said it was because Speaker wanted to instill in her team, which co-ops with Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove, that it would be back there when it matters most.
“I think in a way she was kind of making sure that we're going to get to this point. We're having practice because we know we're going to get here,” Luloff said. “It wasn't a maybe. It was a fact.”
It all came to fruition as Central bested the 12-team field with a score of 340 to mark the school's first sectional championship.
Luloff tied for eighth with an 11-over-par 82. Alson contributing to Central's score were Bailey Bostler (83), Ann Bandolik (87) and Alex Siavelis (88).
“It was one of our big goals this year,” Siavelis said. “We worked really hard and practiced really hard this year.”
Speaker had the team practice together early on and made sure they all participated in some form of golf competition in the summer.
“This is a testament to the work they do,” Speaker said. “They just practice all the time.”
As for Prairie Ridge, it looked like some early struggles would hurt the Wolves. However, every team in the field was dealing with the windy, cold conditions and Prairie Ridge finshed third with a 351 to qualify for its first team trip to state.
Senior Robin Manarik was downtrodden after an opening-nine 49, but she recovered for a 93.
“I played the worst round of my career, so it wasn't very fun,” Manarik said. “I'm very proud of my team, and we pulled through at a good time.”
Delainey Peterson shot a fourth-place 77 to score for Prairie Ridge, which used Manarik, Danielle Roulo (84) and Michelle Nalepa (97) for the Wolves' team total.
Coach Pattie Hie was happy that her team's season, which included a conference and regional championship, did not have to end based on one bad performance at sectionals.
“Today was just a horrible way it would have ended after what these kids have accomplished all year,” Hie said. “We've broken every school record we have, and having one of our worst scores today, just having it be enough to make it in, it'll make them refocus.”
The Wolves edged Waubonsie Valley (355) by four strokes, and Wheaton Warrenville South (348) finished second.
Gabby Young's 94 led Huntley (390), which came in 11th.
Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge will head down to Hickory Point in Decatur on Thursday for a practice round before Friday and Saturday's two-day state tournament.