The last few years of Litchfield girls golf have been some of the best in the school’s history. The Panthers secured their first ever South Central Conference title in 2019 and followed that up with two more in 2020 and 2021. They’ve also shown steady improvement in the post season, going from a team with not enough players for a regional score in seven of eight years between 2011 to 2018 to a pair of fifth place finishes the last two years.
On Thursday, Sept. 30, the Litchfield girls took their next step in that progression as they finished second at the Civic Memorial Regional at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River to earn a spot in Monday’s Waterloo Sectional.
The Panthers had advanced individuals on to the sectionals, but team advancement had eluded the squad since they finished third in 2009. That regional featured just six teams, meaning that Litchfield only needed a 424 to move on to the sectional, where they would be short a player and didn’t factor into the final team standings.
Thursday’s regional at Belk Park featured 13 teams, including some bigger schools like Jerseyville and Highland, along with parochial powers Alton Marquette and Father McGivney.
Litchfield would sneak in between the two metro-east area Catholic schools, shooting a 368 to beat Father McGivney by a stroke for second. Powered by a 7-under-par 65 from medalist Gracie Piar, Marquette took the top spot with an eye-popping 306.
Individually the top six looked like a Marquette Catholic scorecard, as four other players joined Piar among the best half dozen on Thursday. Nestled in amongst the Explorers was Litchfield ace Laura Boston, who shot an 81 to break up the Marquette sweep.
With her grandfather Assistant Coach Tony Marten by her side, Boston finished in the top 10 in regionals for the third straight time, posting her best ever finish after an eighth in 2019 and a fifth in 2020.
Carly Guinn gave the Panthers two players in the top 10 as the senior shot an 87 to finish in a four-way tie for eighth spot. The sectional advance in 2021 comes after Guinn advanced as a sophomore in 2019, but didn’t in 2020 when the sectional field shrunk due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Had Litchfield not finished in the top three teams, there would have been a good chance that they still would have had three sectional qualifiers as Hailey Rentz also posted a top 15 finish. Rentz tied for 14th overall with a 94, which would have been a stroke above the cut, a 95, which determined the individual sectional qualifiers in a four-player playoff.
Charlotte Gardner would be solid in providing Litchfield’s fourth score, posting a 106 to tie Ramsey’s (via Nokomis) Coree Keagy for 43rd overall. Olivia Fleming was right behind her teammate with a 107 to place 45th, while Lauren Monke added in a 117 to place 59th in the 74-player field.
Litchfield now moves on to the Waterloo Gibault Sectional at the Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo on Monday, Oct. 4. If the Panthers can finish in the top three, it will mark the first time a Litchfield girls golf team has qualified for state since 1984.
Sept. 30 at Wood River
Civic Memorial Regional
Belk Park Golf Course - Par 72
Girls Team Scores: 1. Alton Marquette 306*; 2. Litchfield 368*; 3. Father McGivney 369*; 4. Jerseyville 383; 5. Highland 385; 6. Roxana 391; 7. Carlinville 402; 8. Carrollton 413; 9. Staunton 415; 10. Civic Memorial 428; 11. Hillsboro 446; 12. Gillespie 482; 13. Lincolnwood 484. *Advance to Waterloo Gibault Sectional.
Overall Top 10: 1. Gracie Piar (Marquette) 65; 2. Audrey Cain (Marquette) 77; 3. Ava Bartosiak (Marquette) 80; 4. Laura Boston (Litchfield) 81; 5. Clancy Maag (Marquette) 84; 6. Lillian Montague (Marquette) 85; 7. Julia Stoble (Father McGivney) 86; 8. Carly Guinn (Litchfield) 87; 8. Ellie Hyten (Father McGivney) 87; 8. Jerra LaPlant (Jerseyville) 87; 8. Bria Tuttle (Jerseyville) 87.
Individual Sectional Qualifiers: 8. Jerra LaPlant (Jerseyville) 87; 8. Bria Tuttle (Jerseyville) 87; 12. Ava Strohmeier (Roxana) 89; 13. Sydney Watts (Roxana) 93; 14. Madi Darr (Jerseyville) 94;14. Megan Dunn (Carlinville) 94; 14. Reagan Lynn (Roxana) 94; 14. Sydney Coziar (Highland) 94; 20. Alex Frailey (Hillsboro) 95; 20. Emma Kallal (Carrollton) 95.
Litchfield (368) - 4. Laura Boston 81; 8. Carly Guinn 87; 14. Hailey Rentz 94; 43. Charlotte Gardner 106; 45. Olivia Fleming 107; 59. Lauren Monke 117.
Hillsboro (446) - 20. Alex Frailey 95; 38. Meagan Jorn 105; 51. Sam Frailey 113; 71. Aurelie Granito 133.
Lincolnwood (484) - 52. Jhia Walker 114; 64. Marisa Webb 123; 64. Kaylee Gerlach 123; 66. Shelby Hattenbach 124; 70. Anna Jones 129; 73. Jenna Matli 142.
Ramsey-Nokomis - 43. Coree Keagy 106.