MATTOON — Mattoon's Kira Wolf and Tanner Romine are no strangers to the Class 2A state golf meet.
For Wolf, who is a junior, it's her third time competing at the state meet. Romine, who is a senior, went to state as a sophomore when the Green Wave qualified as a team two years ago.
Both of them have the same goals as they compete in the 2A state meet. Wolf and Romine each won an individual sectional title on Monday and now both think they have a shot at competing for the 2A individual title at their respective state meets.
Wolf was in contention for an individual state title last year at Hickory Point Golf Course. Wolf was in a four-way tie for first place after the first day. However, the second day didn't go as well. None of the girls Wolf was tied with won the individual state title, either, as New Trier's Penelope Tir came from a shot back to win it. Wolf shot a five-over 79 and finished in 14th place and she missed out on All-State honors, which she earned as a freshman with a sixth-place finish.
Wolf said last year's second day at the state meet was a disappointment, but it also was a good lesson.,
"Especially being tied for the lead in the first day and then I didn't come back as well the second day. It taught me to keep pushing and things may get bad but just come back and put in a good score," Wolf said. "I definitely think I have a chance of winning it and if not, I think I am good enough to get in the top 10. I just have to put together two good scores."
Wolf will have plenty of competition at state again this year. Benet Academy's Lauren Beaudreau, who finished in second place at state two years ago, and Barrington's Nicole Ciskowski, who didn't medal at state the last two years, each shot a 68 at sectionals. DeKalb's Emma Carpenter, who finished in 10th place at state two years ago, shot a 69 at the same sectional and Barrington's Caroline Smith, who was the runner-up at state last year, shot a 69. Tir added a 73 at her sectional.
But Wolf has golfed with those girls either at state in the past couple of years or during summer events. She's been able to keep up with those girls and finished ahead of some of them at those events. So Wolf knows she can shoot low enough to compete for a state title.
"It shows me that I am just as good as anyone there and I can compete and win it. This year I just have to keep pushing through all of the hard times and get it done," Wolf said. "I know a lot of the girls really well. On my first day tee times, I know all of the girls I am playing with and that's a good thing to know and be with them."
For Romine, getting qualified for state was the biggest hurdle. At sectionals last year, Romine shot a 101, far off from the scores he put up throughout the season. This year he completely redeemed himself. He almost shot 30 strokes lower and in doing so, Romine won the sectional title with a 72.
"I am feeling great and more confident going into this week. It's a great feeling to be back (at state). Last year we didn't quite make it and this year I was determined I was going to go back (to state) for sure," Romine said. "Last year I felt I was capable. I always go into (a tournament) to try and go for the win but if not, making it to state was my second goal. I accomplished both and it was great."