DANVILLE -- The Sullivan boys golf team made history Monday.
The Redskins won the Class 1A Danville Schlarman Sectional to advance to state as a team for the first time since 1979. It is also the first sectional a golf team from Sullivan has ever won.
Sullivan shot a group score of 339, two shots better than Downs Tri-Valley (341) and Beecher (343). All three schools qualified to compete as a team in the 1A state tournament that begins Friday at the Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.
"We survived. It was kind of a tough day for us," Sullivan coach Ben Richter said. "I think we were nervous. We had some jitters, pressure, and expectation going into it as the number one team. We didn’t get off to a very good start."
Caden Ellis led the Redskins with a score of 76 followed by Leyton Ellis (85), Drew Rogers (85) and Leighton Burcham (90).
"It wasn’t our best round as far as averages, but our goal was to make state, and we accomplished that. I’m really proud of them, and they’re really proud of themselves. They’ve put in a lot of hard work, and it’s nice to see them accomplish this," Richter said.
Tyler Jenkins from Streator Woodland was the individual medalist with a score of 75.
Other local golfers who qualified to state individually were Zachary Rodgers from Bement (79) and Will Leach from Shelbyville (80).
St. Anthony boys golf advance to state as a team
EFFINGHAM -- Effingham St. Anthony boys golf team finished second at the Class 1A Effingham Sectional and advanced to the state tournament.
The Bulldogs shot a team score of 321, four shots behind winner Hillsboro (317).
Luke Ludwig's 77 led St. Anthony, followed by Luke Flaig (79), Ben Strullmyer (82) and Nathan Schultz (83).
"Luke Ludwig had a great day. He started slow but had a phenomenal back nine. Luke Flaig had one of his best meets all year. We were hoping to win, but we’re always happy to move on. If you win, that’s just gravy, but the goal is to make it to state," St. Anthony coach Phil Zaccari said. "Hillsboro has a great team, and we’re looking forward to battling them in a few days.
Oakley Gee from Carmi-White County was the individual medalist with a score of 72.
Other advancing to state individually included Chase Laack from Vandalia (78).
Mattoon's Wolf wins 2nd straight sectional title
SAVOY -- After playing one over in her first nine holes, Mattoon’s Kira Wolf bogeyed hole No. 3 (she started on the back nine) to put her two-over-par.
She was a little frustrated. She thought she needed a birdie or two to get back to par in order to have a chance to win her second straight Class 2A sectional title.
Wolf never did get a birdie or two on her final six holes at the University of Illinois Orange Course on Monday. But she also didn’t bogey another hole.
Wolf recovered and shot parred the next six holes to come in with a two-over-par 74.
While she thought she needed a lower score, the 74 was just right. Wolf shot one stroke better than Normal University’s Lexi Onsrud (75) to win her second straight individual sectional title.
“I wasn’t totally unhappy with my score but I was hoping for a little bit better especially since I didn’t have any birdies today,” Wolf said. “It was a pretty good push through score especially since I had some pretty good par saves that helped me stay in it. It was pretty good.”
Mattoon girls’ golf coach Natalie Ambuehl said 74 is a good score but the reason that Wolf isn’t totally happy with her score, even though she is the sectional champion, is because Wolf knows she can shoot a little lower.
“I was there to see some of the birdie putts miss. A lot of us are going to be happy with tap-in par but when she is getting so close to those birdies, she hates to let them get away,” Ambuehl said. “I am so excited for her. Third year straight at state. She just makes it so exciting to watch. She deserves every bit of this because she works so hard and it’s paying off. I am beyond thrilled for her.”
After Wolf had her bogey on hole No. 3, she avoided any other bogeys the rest of the way. While she did miss a couple of birdie putts in her final six holes, she always found a way to save par the rest of the way.
“I’ve been making a lot of good par saves and on (the bogey), the putt just missed and I was a little frustrated. I was hoping I could get some birdies after that because two over wasn’t bad,” Wolf said. “The birdie putts weren’t falling today so it’s whatever I guess.”
Not only is it Wolf’s second straight sectional title, it’s also her third straight year qualifying for state.
“It feels good to qualify. Maybe I am saving some of those birdie putts for state,” said Wolf, who is a junior. “I am pretty confident for state and I hope to do well.”