Answer Man

Granite City golfer scored area’s last state meet ace

Q. Who was the last high school boys golfer from Southern Illinois to shoot a hole-in-one during the state championship tournament finals?

— K.J., of Belleville

A. In the 99-year history of the Illinois High School Association tournament, only 12 young male golfers have notched aces on the various courses where the meets have been played. Of those, there still are only two metro-east golfers who can brag about accomplishing the rare feat: Charles Schiele, of East St. Louis, in 1926 and Jared Harrington, of Granite City, in 2010.

Both came on days when lightning struck twice (figuratively, thank goodness). In 1926, a player named Hedekin became the first boy to score a hole-in-one, putting in his ace on the sixth hole at the Urbana Country Club. Soon afterward, Schiele worked his magic on the eighth hole.

As it turned out, Charles Schiele would go on to become an all-Big Six Conference football star at the University of Missouri in 1931 and ’32 and wound up taking a coaching position there in 1933. Remember, these were the days when high schools sent only individual golfers to the state meet. The state tournament had started in 1916, but schools first began sending teams in 1938, according to IHSA records. (More than 500 schools now compete in the state series.)

What happened in 2010 at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington was even more astounding. Playing the par 3, 186-yard 13th hole, Harrington became the 11th boy to make a hole-in-one during the state finals, according to IHSA records.

“It was playing about 173 yards and I hit it good,” Harrington said after his first-round accomplishment. “The 13th hole has a green which has a pretty good ridge on it. The ball hit about 25 feet away and just kept rolling. Yes, I saw it go in. I couldn’t believe it.”

For Harrington, who finished in a tie for 71st with a 36-hole total of 169, it was his second ace in two months after having holed one at Tower Tee Golf Course in St. Louis. However, he had to share the spotlight that day when Palatine’s Zach Isoda later aced the very same hole to become the last boy to put his name in the records book as of last fall.

Harrington signed on at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey and is now playing for Lindenwood University in Belleville.

“This past season he was a redshirt junior,” his father, Jerry, said of his 22-year-old son. “He will be a senior this fall and ready hopefully to tear it up for Lindenwood. He is a physical education major and is looking to pursue possibly getting his PGA golf teaching card.”

Of the 12 boys, Schiele and Harrington remain the only two to shoot hole-in-ones from schools south of Bloomington. In girls play, Andrea Turner, of Marion, became the first to notch an ace in state finals play (1997). The three hole-in-ones since then all have been by Chicago-area golfers.

The metro-east, however, has produced seven individual champions over the years, including three from Belleville West — Jay Haas (1971), Jerry Haas (1980) and Phil Caravia (1995). Also sporting title trophies on their mantels are Althoff’s Tim Riley (1996) and Jill Gomric (1994), Alton Marquette’s Mary Ellen Jacobs (2002) and Belleville East’s Ashley Freeman (2003). There have been two dozen second- and third-place finishes.

Not surprisingly, Belleville also rules the metro-east roost when it comes to team championships. The Belleville West boys enjoyed a brief dynasty with boys titles in 1968, 1970 and 1972 while Althoff checked in with back-to-back boys crowns in 2011 and 2012 and a girls championship just last October. Also snaring the top spot were the Mater Dei boys (1993) and the girls from Edwardsville (2004) and Nashville (2013).

Today’s trivia

What city has hosted the most national political conventions (Democrat and Republican) in U.S. history?

Answer to Tuesday’s trivia: In 1982, writer Anne Herbert reportedly jotted the phrase “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a Sausalito, Calif., restaurant.

She obviously had no idea that her scribbling would set off an international movement that continues to inspire people to practice more caring and compassion in their daily lives. A decade later, Conari Press built on the sensation by publishing “Random Acts of Kindness,” a book filled with true stories of selfless deeds. Then, late in 1993, a Bakersfield, Calif., professor assigned his students to do a random act of kindness, unleashing yet another flood of media coverage.

Now, there’s a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in Denver, an updated “Random Acts of Kindness: Then & Now” book, and a second edition of Herbert’s own book, “Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” By the way, Herbert is also credited for saying, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or call 618-239-2465.