After a sixth-place finish at the rain-shortened Class 1A state tournament a year ago and with four starters returning, Nashville golf coach Jason Guest knew the Hornets would be strong once again during the 2013 season.
"We had four good players coming back, plus we had a couple of new players coming in we thought would be able to contribute,'' Guest said "But you never really know until the season starts.
"This group has been outstanding all year.''
The Hornets were certainly outstanding a week ago, when they won the Okawville Regional by 54 shots. Led by regional champion Jordan Harre, Nashville will be out to clinch another state-tournament bid today when it competes in the Class 1A Robinson Sectional at Quail Creek Golf Course.
Okawville, Carlyle and Mater Dei are three other local teams competing at Robinson, beginning at 9 a.m., for the right to play in the Class 1A state tournament, which begins Friday at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.
Effingham St. Anthony, McLeansboro and Robinson also are expected to be in the running for one of three state berths. The top 10 individuals not on those teams also advance.
Jordan Harre's story is remarkable and emotional.
Also a 2012 regional champion, Harre shot 66 at Roland Barkau Golf Course on Tuesday. Harre's father, Kevin Harre, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
Kevin Harre's funeral was Friday
"It was inspirational and just an incredible feat by just a great young man. His dad wanted him to compete,'' Guest said. "Jordan's doing about as well as can be expected.
"He has a very close and supportive family.''
Junior Kyle Spencer added a 71 at Okawville, while Tyler Wall and Brendan Holzhauer round out Nashville's top four players.
Okawville's top players are Mason Drury and Jacob Brammeier.
Cahokia Conference champion Carlyle made it two wins in 10 days by winning the Wesclin Regional. Josh Palsenberger, Andrew Ray and Brandon Jansen lead the way for the Indians.
Junior Grant Toennies is one of several solid players for Mater Dei.
Other individuals to watch at Robinson include Sam Range of Gibault, A.J. Jeffers of Steeleville and Tyler Jones of Marissa.
Class 3A Pekin Sectional
Site: Lick Creek Golf Course, Pekin.
Time: 9 a.m.
Local teams: Edwardsville and Belleville West.
Top locals: Tyler Worthey, Edwardsville; Ty Zeller, Edwardsville; Keenai Sampson, Collinsville; Cade Dibadj, Belleville West; Billy Goodman, O'Fallon; Parker Beine, Belleville West; Michael Fuehne, Belleville East and Joe Schwartz, Alton.
Synopsis: Both Edwardsville and West usually play well at Lick Creek, but could face major challenges from Quincy and several schools form the Chicago area. Sampson, Dibadj, Schwartz, Goodman, Zeller and Worthey are the top individual hopes of earning state berths.
Edwardsville coach Dene Schickedanz on the Tigers: "Lick Creek is our home away from home. We love the course. I think we have a strategic way to play the course that works. We won the sectional there in 2008. Just looking at the state scores we would be a huge underdog to get out, but that's what we have been all season so it is a comfortable role for us.''
Next up: The Class 3A state tournament at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, Oct. 18-19.
Class AA Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin Sectional
Site: Piper Glen Golf Course, Springfield.
Time: 9 a.m.
Local teams: Highland, O'Fallon, Alton, Belleville East and Edwardsville
Top local teams: Highland, Alton, Edwardsville
Top local individuals: Shanna Welz, Highland; Maddie Wilke, Highland; Brooke Callan, O'Fallon; Maddie Ryan O'Fallon; Sophie Laing, O'Fallon; Emily Furlow, Belleville East; Caroline Kozak, Triad; Mikaela Hickey, Belleville West; Amanda Lilly, Mascoutah; Tori Hays, Alton and Emilee Flaugher, Edwardsville.
Synopsis: Southwestern Conference rivals Alton and Edwardsville own the metro-east's best team hopes, while Highland is a darkhorse to contend for one of the three qualifying spots. Flaugher and Hays both could contend for medals at state, but will need solid sectional rounds to get there Several other individuals also have legitimate chances, but will need to be ready for the lightning-fast greens at Piper Glen.
Next up: The Class AA state tournament at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth, Oct. 18-19.
Class A Effingham Sectional
Site: Effingham Country Club.
Time: 9 a.m.
Local teams: Althoff, Marquette, Waterloo, Nashville, Okawville and Civic Memorial
Top local hopes: Nashville, Althoff
Top local individuals: Abigail Irwin, Althoff; Gabby David, Althoff; Madison Weilbacher, Althoff; Elaina Smith, Marquette, Shawn Rennegarbe, Nashville; Madi May, Nashville; Natalie Johnson, Nashville; Allie Leingang, Columbia; Meaghan Kreighbaum, Freeburg, Kendra Kesler, Sparta; Haley Faus, Waterloo; Kate Frerking, Freeburg and Kara Schnoeker, Okawville.
Synopsis: The preseason pick to win the state tournament after three straight top four finishes, Nashville must play well on a demanding Effingham Country Club course, which can cause nightmares for even the most talented players, if it hopes to get the chance to play for a state title. The defending sectional champion, Rennegarbe along May and Johnson are one of the state's top trios. Perhaps a year away from being a state contender, Althoff has five solid players and might advance as a team. Rennegarbe could be one of the best high school players in the nation, while May, Johnson and Allie Leingang of Columbia are probably three of the top 20 players in the small-school field.
Next up: The Class A state tournament at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur, Oct. 18-19