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Daily Journal
     October 16, 2020      #76-290 KDJ

BOYS GOLF: Season concludes at sectionals 

By Cody Smith

The vibe of this year’s IHSA Class 1A Sectional Tournament turned out to be different than in years past for our area squads. There was no pressure to make it to state, as the IHSA canceled its state series because of the coronavirus.

“In a way, it was kind of nice to not have to worry about state because there was no pressure,” Iroquois West coach Grant Meyer said. “Our kids could come in and play and have some fun.”

As a result, Beecher, Bishop McNamara, Grant Park and Iroquois West all took a more relaxed approach in this year’s sectional at IronHorse Golf Club on Tuesday. Each team came into its last match of the year relaxed with zero pressure, which resulted in some pretty strong scores given the windy conditions.

Bobcats end season on a high note

Although Beecher didn’t take home the sectional title, it did manage to finish with the best local team score. The Bobcats finished in fourth place with 346 points, which was 25 strokes better than sixth-place finisher Grant Park, which secured the second-best area finish of 371 points.

“I think the guys didn’t know what to expect, especially the youngers guys, and I think they went out and did the best that they could,” Beecher coach David Serafin said. “They were disappointed with some of the bad bounces that they got, which is understandable. So, we just tried to keep them positive around the golf course and make sure they didn’t give up on themselves.”

Serafin’s positive attitude helped calm some of his younger players, which is why, for the first time in a long time, senior Brady Serafin wasn’t able to lead the Bobcats on the evening. Instead, Beecher’s top shooter was sophomore Vinny Messana, who finished with a team-low 82.

“I was happy for Vinny,” Coach Serafin said. “Vinny played really well. Him shooting an 82 today and only being a sophomore and in these conditions I think is a heck of a good score. … For him to be relatively new, that was fantastic to see.”

Brady Serafin finished second for the Bobcats with an 86. He was followed by freshmen Jack Hayhurst and Andrew Hering, who each totaled 89s for the par-72 course.

All in all, it wasn’t the result Beecher wanted. However, Coach Serafin was pleased with how his team handled the course. He saw great promise from his young guns, so he said he is really excited to see how much improvement the Bobcats can make headed into next season.

“I just told them I was proud of them for the year and for the fact that they are working hard and none of them gave up,” Coach Serafin said. “As a young squad, they shot 352 as a group of underclassmen. And they all wasted shots all over the place … so, I look forward to having a really strong offseason with those kids, and I think they are going to come back better than ever.”

Dragons take 6th

Similar to the Bobcats, the Dragons were just happy to be able to participate in a sectional this season. Grant Park head coach Andy Dillman had no idea how this season would turn out. So, once his team got the nod to sectionals, he felt as though it was all gravy.

“I felt like we were playing with house money a little bit,” Dillman said. “Trying to reflect back in August thinking how far we would get this season and if you would have told me in August if we would have this opportunity to play at a sectional as a team and watch [Ryan] Dulin play his last round of his high school career at a sectional, I would have been happy with that.”

Trey Boecker carded the third-lowest score in the tournament with a 78 to lead Grant Park. He was followed closely by senior Ryan Dulin, who shot an 81. Hunter Romanowski shot 104, and Travis Fick added a 108 to round out the Dragons’ top shooters.

“We shot around where we have been shooting all year round,” Dillman said. “So, I’m pretty happy to see that. Obviously, you want to come in here and think you want to do a little bit better than what you have been doing, but we have an opportunity to be in sixth or seventh place, and that’s a pretty good finish given we are probably the smallest school here in terms of enrollment.”

Going forward into the offseason, Grant Park will look to find its replacement for Dulin. The senior will be graduating later this spring, leaving Dillman to try to replace him by committee.

“It’s going to be a struggle trying to replace Dulin, but we don’t have to replace him with one player,” Dillman said. “Hopefully, we can replace him with two or three kids [who] can step up next year and play some bogey golf.”

Iroquois West’s historic season comes to an end

The Raiders failed to cap off their historic season with a sectional crown. They finished in eighth place with 379 points, which was good enough to best Bishop McNamara by four strokes and avoid last place.

Kade Kimmel led the Raiders with 90, Ryan Tilstra shot 91, and both Jack McMillan and Jack Pree shot 99s to round out Iroquois West.

“I was kind of looking to be around 380 with the wind and tough course,” Meyer said. “I think we ended up with 379, so I was pretty happy overall with how we did.”

The Raiders have a lot of accomplishments they can look back on this season. Along with going 22-3 in the regular season, Iroquois West also had a record-breaking performance at Shagbark Golf & Country Club in Onarga. A few weeks before the postseason, the Raiders shot a 151 to break the record for the lowest combined round in school history. The record previously was set in 2003 with 153. In addition, they also won their first-ever regional title in the IHSA Class 1A Bishop McNamara Regional last week.

“I couldn’t be more proud with how everything happened from the start of the season to now,” Meyer said “With our four seniors, since they have been freshman, they have helped grow the program. They also have helped grow themselves to get to where they are today. So, to finally see that pay off with the awesome season we had is really cool to see.”

McNamara enjoys its last round of the season

Bishop McNamara coach RJ Tyson’s message to the team before tee-off was short and sweet — enjoy the moment.

“The vibe was just to come out and enjoy it,” Tyson said. “We advanced to sectionals, and so we were just calling this bonus golf.”

The looser vibe helped the Irish total five golfers who shot below 100 for the 18-hole course. Colton Provost shot a 94 to lead McNamara, followed by Eamon O’Brien and Johannes Peddinghaus, who each shot 96s, and Aiden Morris and Trenton Koenig, who each carded 97s.

“They played pretty well,” Tyson said. “... It was a few strokes over their averages, but all in all a good day.”

IHSA Cass 1A Tuscola Sectional — Individual Top 10

1. Matthew Barker (Downs Tri-Valley) 76

2. Caleb Lavender (El Paso-Gridley) 78

2. Trey Boecker (Grant Park) 78

4. AJ Bond (El Paso-Gridley) 81

5. AJ Stiegler (Seneca) 81

5. Ryan Dulin (Grant Park) 81

8. Vinny Messana (Beecher) 82

8. Camden Dwyer (Sullivan) 82

8. McKoy Allen (Fieldcrest) 82

IHSA Class 1A Tuscola Sectional—Team Results

1. El Paso-Gridley (320)

2. Downs Tri-Valley (339)

2. Sullivan (339)

4. Beecher (346)

5. Monticello (356)

6. Grant Park (371)

7. St. Thomas More (374)

8. Iroquois West (379)

8. Bismarck-Henning Rossville-Alvin (379)

10. Bishop McNamara (383)

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