With 12 tournament championships already stashed away for safe keeping heading into the Class 2A Girls Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin Sectional on Tuesday, its safe to say the O’Fallon Panthers had met or exceeded all of their goals for the ‘16 season. Except one.
But on a day when they competed against the top Class 2A teams south of Chicago, the Panthers achieved their final goal of a second straight trip to the state tournament by doing what they do best — playing consistent golf.
Juniors Alyssa McMinn and Natalie Meinkoth both shots rounds of 81 to the way while Emily Marrs and Liz Boehning added solid rounds as O’Fallon moved on to the IHSA Class 2A State Girls Tournament with a second place at Illini Country Club.
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The Panthers, with Emily Marrs adding an 84 and Liz Boehning adding a round of 91, finished with a total of 337, three strokes in back of champion Galesbug (334) and strokes better than third place Normal. All three teams advance to the Class 2A State Tournament which begins on Friday at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur.
This is the first time in O’Fallon girls golf history that the Panthers will be making back-to-back state tournament appearances. O’Fallon placed 12th in the ‘15 state finals.
“What does it mean? It It means that you are one of the top 12 teams in the state. We’re proud of these girls and what they have been able to accomplish this season. They have all worked very hard on their games and we’re looking forward to going up and playing at the state finals again,’’ O’Fallon coach Chris Eddy said, “We just want to go up and play as well as we can.’’
Three other local players also earned trips to the state finals. Collinsville Abbey Burns became the first Kahoks girls player since 1996 to qualify for the state finals as she shot an 81 on Tuesday, while Breanna Benardin and Edwardsville’s Kayla Weinacht both shot 87 then survived a playoff with three other players to advance to Decatur.
Boys Class 2A Mattoon Golf Sectional
Alton Marquette senior Michael Holtz shot an even-par 72 to lead a balanced attack as the Explorers ran away with a 22-stroke win at the Class 2A Mattoon Boys Golf Sectional on Tuesday.
Still a newcomer in Class 2A after several years as a Class 1A power, Marquette finished with a team score of 310 as it rolled past Benton (332) and host Mattoon (345) for the title. All three schools advance to the Class 2A State Tournament which begins on Friday at Weibring Golf Course in Normal.
Four individuals from the metro east also earned trips to the state finals by recording scores of 84 or better. Althoff junior Dylan Davidson led the way, shooting a 2-over par 74, while seniors Drew Sobol of Wood River and Alex Gorman of Mascoutah shot rounds of 82 to advance.
Mater Dei freshman Grant Goebel claimed the tenth and final individual spot with a round 0f 84 on Tuesday.