Alex White, a Hillsboro graduate, and the rest of the Parkland College Cobras are headed to the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Nationals.
Not exactly a shock. The Cobras earned the right to compete in the final outing of the college season, by winning the NJCAA Division II Central District Championship by 37 strokes. For his part, White was 13th, shooting a 228 for 54 holes.
“We always want to win by many strokes,” said White, one of three Parkland freshmen that shot in the regionals. “We are not happy with our performance unless we do. I do not believe we played our best golf collectively. I think the best is yet to come from us. We have all seen spurts of our best golf, but not all at the same time. I think we will shock everyone once we do that.”
For not playing their best golf, they have managed to rack up the tournament victories. Headed into the nationals on May 18, they have won the Mid-West Athletic Conference and the NJCAA Division Regional along with six other tournaments.
In the regionals, the Cobras shot an 866. Rend Lake College took second with a 903. White, who was the fifth Parkland golfer to finish, was 13th overall. He opened with a 75, before shooting a low round of 73 in the second round. For the third and final round, White shot an 80.
“My personal goal at nationals is to golf the best I have all year,” said the former Hiltopper golfer. “I want to place as high as I can and contribute. As far as the team, after the year we have had, we want to come home with the national championship. We would not be satisfied with anything else. We have played too well and come too far to be happy with anything else.”
White’s 228 total was only 17 strokes from the winning total of 211 posted by Parkland sophomore Scott O’Brien. Parkland took the top three positions and four of the top five. Of the Parkland golfers that golfed at the regional, three were freshmen and two were sophomores.
Billy Beckham (Litchfield) was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk as his college team, Lewis and Clark Community College, thumped Spoon River College 9-1. Beckham scored three times and drove home two. The Lewis and Clark freshman had hits in the other two wins over Spoon River as well. Beckham, who homered and walked in 10-0 triumph, drove home three and scored two. In the 13-3 victory, he was 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks. He scored three times and drove home one run. Lewis and Clark is 16-25 overall and 9-17 in the Mid-West Athletic Conference.
Kaili Hanner (Hillsboro) earned her second victory of the year and her career in St. Louis University’s 5-4 triumph over Bellarmine University. Hanner, who worked six innings for SLU, allowed one earned run on five hits. She fanned five and walked four. The sophomore hurler is 2-4. SLU is 19-25 overall and 10-10 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Emily Senjan (Litchfield) helped Parkland College overcome Lewis and Clark three times and Heartland Community College once. Senjan was 1-for-2 and scored twice in the 13-0 victory over Lewis and Clark. She also was 1-for-2 and scored twice in the 11-3 in the win over Heartland. She pitched in the 6-1 victory over Lewis and Clark. She worked two innings on the hill, but did not get the victory or a save, in the 20-1 victory over Lewis and Clark. Parkland boasts a 49-7 overall record. They are 20-4 in the Mid-West Athletic Conference.
Katie Schaake (Hillsboro), a Lincoln Land Community College hurler, leveled her record at 9-9 with two victories. In a 2-1 triumph over John Wood Community College, Schaake worked a complete game 7.0 innings, allowing three hits. She walked three and two strikeouts. She only had to work four innings to earn a 9-1 victory over Lewis and Clark. In her time on the hill, she allowed one earned run on thee hits. She walked three and fanned two. At the plate, she had three multiple hits games.
She helped power the team to victory in both pitching wins. In the 2-1 win over JWCC, she was 2-for-3 with a double. She scored one of the runs. In the 9-1 win over Lewis and Clark, she was 2-for-3 and crossed the plate twice. LLCC topped Danville Area Community College 5-0 as Schaake was 2-for-4 with a triple, scored a run and drove home another. LLCC is 31-16 overall and 18-6 in the Mid-West Athletic Conference.
Shelby Houchlei (Hillsboro), a Kaskaskia College pitcher, allowed only one earned run on seven hits, but was not good enough to power the Blue Angels to a victory over Olney Central College, who won an 8-1 decision. She fanned two and walked two. She also suffered the loss in the 8-2 loss to Wabash Valley College. In five innings, she allowed three earned runs on eight hits. She struck out three and walked one. Houchlei’s pitching record stands at 16-9. In a 10-5 loss, Houchlei was 3-for-4 with a homer. She drove home three of KC’s runs and scored another two. KC is 23-25 overall and 13-19 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.
Kyra Huber (Hillsboro) finished fourth in the 100-meter dash at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Border Battle. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh sophomore sprinter finished the race in 12.75 seconds. She helped the Wisconsin-Oshkosh finish second with 109.50 points. University of Dubuque won with 151 points.
Kendra Jacob (Hillsboro) was 1-for-2 with a walk for Hannibal-LaGrange University as they lost an 8-6 decision to Central Baptist College. Jacob drove home a pair of runs. The loss occurred in the American Midwest Conference Tournament. Hannibal-LaGrange is 16-25 overall. They finished the AMC season with a 7-9 mark.
Ryan Janssen (Nokomis) and Carter Sabol (Nokomis) each played in Lake Land College’s 24-15 victory over Shawnee Community College. At the plate, Janssen was 1-for-3 and drove home one run. Sabol worked 1 1/3 innings on the hill. He did not get the win or a save. He allowed one earned run on two hits. He fanned two and walked a pair. Lake Land is 27-27 overall and 13-17 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.
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Dan Chamness is a freelance college sports writer. He can be contacted at Dan62801@aol.com.