Crystal Lake South was among the first boys golf teams to tee off at Monday’s Class 2A Kaneland Sectional. The Gators knew it was a big stage at Hughes Creek in Elburn.
“I don’t know how often they get watched by 50, 60 people on the first tee,” South coach Curt Wadlington said. “I don’t think nerves were a huge factor today, but I definitely think it got real on them in a hurry. And I think they worked through it. We’re getting battle tested.”
Wadlington’s team tuned out the pressure and finished second at the sectional, advancing to the Class 2A state tournament, which begins Friday in Normal. South advanced to state as a team for the first time since 2002.
“Griffin Coakley was quoted on the front page of the Northwest Herald at the beginning of the year, ‘State or bust,’” Wadlington said. “Now we can eliminate the bust. It’s state.
“We’re going to state, and anything that we do past this point, we met our goal. … Have fun, relax and let’s go see what we can do.”
South recorded a 312 team score, nine strokes behind sectional champion St. Viator (303). Kaneland also advanced to state with a 312.
Will Stewart and John Lishchynsky each shot a 4-over-par 76 to lead South. Ethan Wiggs (78) and Ricky Falbo (82) rounded out the four scoring rounds. South’s fifth score – Casey Hunter and Griffin Coakley each with an 85 – was better than Kaneland’s fifth score, so the Gators earned second place.
Prairie Ridge (321) finished nine strokes behind third place, missing out on state as a team. Dominic Leli (75) and Grant Klepitsch (77) advanced individually.
South ended a 16-year state drought and advanced to the state tournament for the fifth time in boys golf program history, according to records on IHSA.org. That history includes a 1980 Class AA state championship under former coach Sid Sorenson.
“Honoring Crystal Lake South, I think it’s great,” Wadlington said. “I’m glad to have been a part of some of the history of the program.”
After a second-place finish at last week’s Class 2A Marengo Regional, the Gators were disappointed they didn’t return home with a regional championship plaque. At the time, Wadlington said, “We’re going to need to do better. The writing’s on the wall.”
The Gators did better Monday. After a delay because of fog, the course was wet from overnight rain, but conditions improved as the round progressed.
“The boys understood that maybe they underperformed a little bit last week at Marengo,” Wadlington said. “They buttoned down this week in practice. They went out with one goal: getting [to state] today. Their mindset shifted a little bit to the idea that they were going to have to get their work done.”
The Class 2A boys golf state tournament is at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.
IHSA Class 2A Kaneland Sectional
at Hughes Creek Golf Course, par 72
Team scores (top three advance to state): 1. St. Viator 303, 2. Crystal Lake South 312, 3. Kaneland 312, 4. Sycamore 321, 5. Prairie Ridge 321, 6. Boylan Catholic 322, 7. Vernon Hills 323, 8. Antioch 338, 9. Rock Falls 341, 10. Freeport 346, 11. Aurora Central Catholic 352, 12. Streator Township 358.
Medalist: Nolan Doherty (St. Viator), 72.
1. St. Viator (303): Nolan Doherty 72, Timmy Crawford 73, EJ Reisinger 77, Michael Ruben 81 (Liam O’Neill 82, Conor Warner 89).
2. Crystal Lake South (312): Will Stewart 76, John Lishchysnky 76, Ethan Wiggs 78, Ricky Falbo 82 (Casey Hunter 85, Griffin Coakley 85).
3. Kaneland (312): Will Marshall 74, Bryce Stair 78, Ryan Milton 78, Josh Pehl 82 (Cody Ganzon 88, Michael Partoll 91).
Advancing individuals: Zach Schwartzbach (Boylan) 75, Dominic Leli (PR) 75, Brendan Fritz (Syc) 76, Grant Klepitsch (PR) 77, Grant Wasson (RF) 78, Owen Hultman (RC) 78, Rohan Vasudeva (VH) 79, T.J. Ptak (IMSA) 79, Nathan Turco (ACC) 79, Deven Stewart (Freep) 79.