One of the premier Class 2A boys golf programs in the state for nearly a decade, the Althoff Crusaders appear poised and ready for another top eight state tournament finish at Weibring Golf Course in Normal.
Fresh off a second place finish at the Carbondale Sectional, the Crusaders will battle 11 of the top golf programs in the state when first round action in the Class 2A State Tournament begins on Frday . The state tournament appearance is the seventh in the last nine years for coach Dan Polites’ Crusaders program which placed third in the ‘10 Class 2A event before winning back-to-back state championships in 2011 and 2012.
“We are very familiar with Weibring (golf course) and have been fortunate to have a great deal of success here. It is always in excellent condition and our team really enjoys the challenge of playing here,’’ Polites said. “Our success over the years comes from the players bwho come through our program and the amount of time they put in to their games throughout the year.
“By what I see, Charleston is the team to beat, but there are a number of good teams competing. We’d be thrilled if we could take home a trophy on Saturday. If we play well, I think we have a chance.’’
The Class 2A state tourament is one of five state finals being held at courses in Central Illinois this weekend. The Class 1A state tournament is being held at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington, while the Class 3A event is being held at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomngton.
The Edwardsville Tigers girls golf team is competing at the C;lass 2A State Tournament at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur while the Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur is once again hosting the Class 1A girls event.
Althoff is led by sophomore Avery Irwin and junior Jack Bruening. Irwin tied for medalist honors at the Carbondale Sectional, finishing with a 72. Bruening finished a stroke back with a 73.
The IHSA state finals also has a different format this year. For the first time in state tournament history, there will be a cut after the first 18 holes. In all five events, the top eight teams and top 24 individuals not on those eight teams will advance to the final 18 holes on Saturday. In the past all players and individuals have played 36 holes.