High School Sports

These high school golfers want a state title. Their quest starts now.

For the first time in six years, Althoff boys golf coach Dan Polites doesn’t have his sights set on a possible top 10 state tournament or better for the Crusaders heading into the start of the postseason.

But a trip to the Class 2A Mattoon Sectional on Oct. 11 would be nice. Althoff begins its ‘16 postseason Tuesday when it competes in the Class 2A Mount Vernon Regional at Green Hills Golf Course beginning at 9 a.m.

The Mount Vernon Regional is one of eight boys and girls regionals which are being held at courses throughout southern Illinois on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top three teams and top 10 individuals not on those teams advance sectional competition on Oct. 10-11.

Polites, who led Althoff to Class 2A state crowns in both 2011 and 2012, is realistic about the Crusaders’ chances at Green Hills.

“I think Columbia has to be the favorite with Mater Dei and maybe Centralia. Although we have beaten Centralia twice this year,” Polites said. “We have a chance, if we play well, to advance. As young as we are this year, that’s all we’re hoping for is a chance.”

Waterloo, Central, Freeburg and Mascoutah are also competing at Green Hills on Tuesday for a chance to advance to the Mattoon Sectional which will also feature the top teams and individuals advancing out of the Charleston, Marion and Roxana regionals on Tuesday.

The Roxana Regional will be held at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River and will include powerful Marquette, Civic Memorial, Highland, Jerseyville, Roxana, Triad and Wood River.

While Althoff has a chance to get to the sectional meet and is a long shot to reach the state finals, the Crusaders do have two top individuals in junior Dylan Davidson and freshman Jack Bruening.

Bruening won the South Seven Conference Tournament last week.

“Jack is an excellent young player with a very mature way about him,” Polites said. “I’m always kidding him saying he plays like an 18-year-old. He’s played a lot of Gateway PGA events in the past and I think he’s got a great chance of getting to state.”

Following are brief synopsis of the Class 1A and Class 3A regionals on Tuesday.

Class 3A regionals

The seven Southwestern Conference schools head north on Tuesday to compete at the Class 3A Quincy Regional at Westview Golf Course. Southwestern Conference champion Edwardsville, led by junior Ben Tyrrell, and O’Fallon, led by standout Logan Harris, are expected to battle Quincy for the title. Belleville East also could contend for a top three place. At state is a trip to the Pekin Sectional on Oct. 10.

Class 1A regionals

The Wesclin and Gibault regionals will be held on Tuesday with the top teams and individuals advancing to the Robinson Sectional on Oct. 10 at Quail Creek Country Club. Local teams competing at the Wesclin Regional which is being held at Governor’s Run Golf Course in Carlyle are Carlyle, Metro East Lutheran, Lebanon and Wesclin.

The other Class 1A Regional is at the Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo. Teams competing include New Athens, Marissa, Nashville, Okawville, Red Bud, Sparta , Valmeyer and Gibault.

Girls Class 2A

After winning 10 tournaments during the regular season, the O’Fallon Panthers head back to a familiar venue on Wednesday — Oak Brook Golf Course in Edwardsville — to compete in the Class 2A Edwardsville Regional.

Led by their ‘Fab 4’ of Emily Marrs, Alyssa McMinn, Natalie Meinkoth and Brooke Boatman, the Panthers have been the dominant team in southern Illinois this season. O’Fallon, which lost to Edwardsville by two strokes when the two Southwestern Conference foes met for a dual match, shot a school record 304 at Oak Brook at the Edwardsville Invitational last week.

“We’re playing well and have played well all year. We could be a little better with our short games and we still have more 3-putt greens than what I would like. But we’ve played well,” Panthers coach Chris Eddy said. “I like our chances of getting out of the regional, but the sectional will be very difficult because there will be a number of outstanding teams. Our goal all year has been to get back to the state tournament. It will be disappointing if we don’t.”

Edwardsville, led by SWC individual champion Addasyn Zeller, should also advance on Wednesday with Alton, Belleville East, Belleville West, Collinsville, Granite City, Mascoutah and Triad also in the field. The top three teams advance to the Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin Sectional on Oct. 11 at Illini Country Club in Springfield.

Girls Class 1A

Many of the top Class 1A teams in the metro east will be put to the rest on Wednesday at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton for the Marquette Regional. Teams competing include Marquette, Althoff, Mater Dei, Central, Civic Memorial, Columbia, Freeburg, Highland, Jerseyville, Okawville and Roxana.

The rest of the local Class 1A teams will be at Campbell Hill for the Trico Regional. Class A state power Nashville, Marissa, Red Bud, Sparta, Valmeyer, Gibault and Waterloo are playing at Franklin County County Club. The Class 1A Salem Sectional will be played at Salem Country Club on Oct. 10.