ALGONQUIN – The Richmond-Burton girls golf team set a goal at the beginning of the season to win a regional title, one year removed from a second-place finish.
To get there, the Rockets needed to overcome a difficult course Tuesday at Golf Club of Illinois while marked as the team to beat. Despite some tough holes, R-B junior Blake Betke carded an 89 to finish third overall while freshman teammate Mackenzie Hahn finished tied for fourth with a 93. They got the low scores R-B needed and were two of five Rockets to finish under 106.
With Betke and Hahn pacing R-B, the Rockets won the Class A Westminster Christian regional, shooting a 392 to advance to Saturday’s Freeport sectional at Park Hills. Plano’s Rylie Loux earned medalist honors, shooting an 85.
“It was tough, but I knew I could have done better,” Betke said. “We wanted to win and we did, so that feels good.”
Johnsburg, which came into the regional as the No. 11 seed, finished fourth overall after shooting a 442 to just miss out on advancing to the Freeport sectional as one of the top three teams. The Skyhawks’ ability to overcome any nerves or worries going up against some of the best teams impressed coach Chris O’Niel.
“We performed the way we can,” O’Niel said. “Our girls didn’t shoot extraordinary rounds today, but they were solid. Our scores have been going down throughout the year, and the nice thing is they didn’t really blow up.”
Johnsburg sophomore Emma Johnson (98), who finished sixth overall, and senior Kayla Toussaint (106) advanced individually as well as Woodstock North freshman Daniela Miranda (104).
“I’m pretty excited because I’d come here to practice before and I had not shot nearly as well as (today),” Johnson said. “And to come out here and shoot under 100, it was a goal I’d set for myself earlier this year. It’s just unbelievable.”
The greens were narrow and fast, creating a tricky course with little room for error. Hahn said one adjustment she made after a rough front 9 holes was abandoning her driver.
“I knew it was hard and there were a lot of hills, but I just knew I needed to hit in on the fairway,” Hahn said. “I just knew I had more holes coming and that I could do better.”
R-B coach Brandon Creason felt his team’s experience playing 18 holes made a difference this year given their familiarity in playing longer matches.
The Rockets proved they could handle adversity during the long day. Hahn’s ability to bounce back from a shaky start was especially important as she has pushed R-B over the top this season, Creason said. R-B junior Kat Cummings’ performance – as their No. 5 golfer, she shot a 105 to tie teammate Jenny Wojcik for the Rockets’ third-best score – has given Creason another weapon.
“Again, it seems in big matches Kat really shows up and that was big,” Creason said. “That’s huge. Very few teams have that. The good teams have that and that’s what has really helped us this year. I’m not sure what’s more exciting: the results of today or the fact that none of them are seniors.”