The spectacular season by the Litchfield girls golf team continued on Monday, Oct. 4, as the Lady Panthers joined 12 other hopeful teams at the Class 1A Gibault Sectional at the Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo.
Litchfield would more than hold their own against the best teams in the southern part of the state as they finished fifth overall with a 370 as a team. Mt. Carmel (311), Alton Marquette (325) and Massac County (349) would grab the three team state qualifying spots, while Waterloo was fourth with a 353.
While the Panthers didn’t advance as a team, they will be represented at state as senior Carly Guinn finished tied for 14th with an 87 and earned a spot among the 10 individual qualifers not on an advancing team.
Starting on the front nine, Guinn made the turn at 8-over-par, with two pars and six bogies for her first nine holes. She would collect three more pars and a birdie on the par-4 16th hole on the back nine, leaving her at 15-over-par for the tournament.
Guinn nearly had a bunch of company at state as fellow Panthers Hailey Rentz and Laura Boston came within a whisker of earning a spot.
Rentz was one stroke behind Guinn and tied for 20th, making three pars on the front nine and four pars and a birdie on the back nine for a pair of 44s.
Anna-Jonesboro’s Marlee Smith and Salem’s Kenzie Anderson also finished with 88s as the trio tied for the 10th and final qualifying spot. Rentz, a junior going up against two seniors, would just miss out on a state bid as Anderson earned the trip to Decatur this weekend.
Boston was nearly as close as Rentz as she finished with an 89, the first player out of the playoff. The Panthers’ ace all season, Boston tied Rentz for the team lead in pars with seven on the day, shooting a 47 on the front and a 42 on the back.
After finishing as the Panthers’ sixth player at the regional, Lauren Monken shaved 11 strokes off her score and shot a 106 at the sectional for Litchfield’s fourth scoring round. Monke shot a 52 on the front half of the course and a 54 on the back half, with a par on number 12 and a birdie on number 15.
Charlotte Gardner and Olivia Fleming also made their sectional debuts for the Panthers, shooting 118 and 121 respectively. Gardner had rounds of 60 and 58, while Fleming went 65 and 56 on the day, with both players making two pars on the back nine.
In addition to the Hillsboro contingent, Hillsboro junior Alex Frailey also qualified for sectionals and shot a 110 on the day to finish 80th overall. Frailey shot a 53 on the back nine to start the day, making a par on number 16, but had one tough hole on the front nine and finished with a 57.
While the six underclassmen from Montgomery County saw their season come to an end at sectionals, the lone senior in the seven qualifiers lived to play another day.
Guinn’s reward for four years of hard work will be a trip to Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur, the home of the Class 1A State Finals.
She will tee off on Friday, Oct. 8, at 9:42 a.m. with Father McGivney’s Elizabeth Hyten and Waterloo’s Calli Smith, who also advanced out of the Waterloo Sectional.
Going up against the best in the state, Guinn will try to become the third Litchfield girls golfer to medal at the tournament, joining Sally Scharf, who finished 10th in 1985, and Claire Gursh, who finished 13th in 2006.
October 4 at Waterloo
Acorns Golf Links - Par 72
Girls Team Results: 1. Mt. Carmel 311*; 2. Marquette 325*; 3. Massac County 349*; 4. Waterloo 353; 5. Litchfield 370; 6. Columbia 380; 7. Salem 385; 8. Father McGivney 392; 9. Zeigler-Royalton-Christopher 401; 10. Nashville 416; 11. Frankfort 420; 12. Althoff Catholic 424; 13. Pinckneyville 441**
*State Qualifying Team
**Pinckneyville did not qualify as a team, but qualified four players as individuals.
Medalist: Gracie Piar, Sr. (Marquette) 70.
Individual Qualifiers: Reese Kite (Waterloo) 76; Frankie Leigh Nicholes (Harrisburg) 78; Chelsea Young (Zeigler-Royalton-Christopher) 82; Madison McClusky (Harrisburg) 83; Alyssa Paul (Salem) 84; Annie Shin (Carbondale) 87; Elizabeth Hyten (Father McGivney) 87; Carly Guinn (Litchfield) 87; Calli Smith (Waterloo) 87; Kenzie Anderson (Salem) 88.
Litchfield (370) - 14. Carly Guinn 87; 20. Hailey Rentz 88; 23. Laura Boston 89; 67. Lauren Monke 106; 98. Charlotte Gardner 118; 100. Olivia Fleming 121.
Hillsboro - 80. Alex Frailey 110.