O'Fallon Progress

Lady Panther golfers win 10 straight tournaments

Emily Marrs shot an 82 which garnered her a second place finish in the individual competition.
Emily Marrs shot an 82 which garnered her a second place finish in the individual competition. dholtmann@bnd.com

Undefeated and untied, the OTHS girls’ golf team ended the 2016 regular season schedule with an impressive series of tournament victories.

In the past two weeks, the Lady Panther golfers reeled off championship performances in the Pekin Lady Dragon Classic, the Edwardsville Invitational, the O’Fallon Panther Classic, and the Southwestern Conference tournament.

O’Fallon’s latest string of triumphs on the links began with the Pekin tournament, a regular season litmus test with the field including many potential contenders for sectional and state tournament berths.

“Pekin was a great tournament for our girls to compete in,” said OTHS coach Chris Eddy. “Lick Creek is a very challenging course. It was great to see our girls battle, compete and overcome some struggles during their rounds.”

The struggling was held to a minimum, however, as the local golfers posted scores just good enough to capture the team crown. Emily Marrs carded the best O’Fallon round, shooting an 82 which garnered her a second place finish in the individual competition.

One good score does not a victory make as the rest of O’Fallon’s top players closely followed Marrs’ lead. Alyssa McMinn fired an 84 while Brooke Boatman and Natalie Meinkoth shot identical 88’s. The O’Fallon girls needed every stroke when the team totals were tallied at the end of the day. A 173 on the front nine and a 169 on the back nine gave the Panthers a 342 — one stroke better than second place Normal Community. Oak Park Fenwick finished six strokes off the Panthers’ pace to finish third.

“Having an opportunity to play several strong teams from central and northern Illinois was invaluable as our girls prepare for post-season play,” Eddy said. “The Pekin tournament showcased the talent that we will expect to see in the sectional.”

With the impressive win, the Lady Panthers were able to extend their victory streak to seven in a row as they prepared for the Southwestern Conference showdown on the Belk Park course. After being severely tested in the Dragon Classic, the O’Fallon squad didn’t leave anything to chance when they faced off against their league opponents. Natalie Meinkoth led the charge with an 18-hole total of 77. She was followed by teammates Alyssa McMinn (78), Emily Marrs (79) and Brooke Boatman (80). The combined rounds allowed the Lady Panthers to breeze to victory, defeating their closest competitors — Edwardsville — by 27 strokes.

“Any time you have four scores of 80 or better you are going to be successful,” Eddy said. “I was very pleased with what our team was able to accomplish and the progress our girls have made throughout the season. The margin of victory over the other conference schools is indicative of the time and effort that our kids have put into the game.”

Any time you have four scores of 80 or better you are going to be successful. I was very pleased with what our team was able to accomplish and the progress our girls have made throughout the season. The margin of victory over the other conference schools is indicative of the time and effort that our kids have put into the game.

OTHS women’s golf coach Chris Eddy

The Panther Express continued into the Edwardsville Invitational when the OTHS girls combined to post a school record 304 at Oakbrook.

“At the beginning of this year, the school record for the best team score was 330. This squad has shattered the previous best on three different occasions as the season has progressed with their best coming the past week in the Edwardsville,” Eddy said. “In order to post that score we had our top four girls shoot below 80 — incredible.”

All four of O’Fallon’s top golfers finished among the top ten individuals. Emily Marrs’ team best 74 gave her a second place medal, Alyssa McMinn (75) was third, Natalie Meinkoth (76) placed fifth and Brooke Boatman (79) took seventh.

O’Fallon’s tenth, and final, tournament triumph came in their own O’Fallon Invitational, which was moved back in the schedule due to inclement weather earlier in the season. The Lady Panthers celebrated by posting four of the top five individual scores on the day. Emily Marrs and Brooke Boatman led the attack with a pair of 78’s. Alyssa McMinn’s 80 and Natalie Meinkoth’s 81 accounted for O’Fallon’s 317 team total.

The Lady Panthers were scheduled to play yesterday (Wednesday) in the IHSA regional tournament at Oakbrook. The IHSA sectional tournament is scheduled for Oct. 11 on the Illini CC course in Springfield.

While the OTHS girls were setting records on their way to an undefeated season, the Panther boys team was in the process of posting their own string of solid performances as they approached post-season action.

Coach Kevin Kellermann’s squad competed in three tournaments over the past week, finishing third in the 15-team Edwardsville Invitational, second in the Centralia Invitational and second in the regular season finale at Belk Park in the Southwestern Conference championships.

Senior standout Logan Harris was in the middle of the action in all three events, capping on exceptional final season. Harris shot even par 71 at Oakbrook to finish third in the overall individual standings. He teamed with Drew Taylor to take fifth place at Centralia and was the top player for the Panthers in the SWC showdown, placing sixth with a 78 — his highest round of the season.

“Logan has had an outstanding senior season,” said Kellermann. “He has been our medalist in every match this year with the exception of two that he missed because of illness. His leadership has been invaluable. He averaged 72 for the season which is exceptional.”

Harris and his Panther teammates will be trying to advance to the IHSA sectional with a solid performance in the Quincy regional.

“There are no guarantees,” Kellermann said. “But we like our chances. Basically, there will be five teams vying for three spots — Quincy, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Belleville East and O’Fallon. Whoever is able to post consistent scores through their line-up will move on. We’re hopeful that we can be in the mix.”

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