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updated: 9/25/2012 11:44 PM

Hard-working Mundelein defends NSC title

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After its final tuneup in advance of Tuesday's North Suburban Conference tournament, Mundelein's boys golf team wanted to drive.

And chip.

And putt.

And hit wedges.

So the Mustangs had coach Todd Parola drive them to their home course, Steeple Chase. Finishing second in the Grayslake Central invite at Stonewall Orchard wasn't satisfying enough.

While waiting to receive their second-place trophy, Mundelein's players started rolling putts on Stonewall's practice green.

The Mustangs then stopped at Steeple Chase -- and closed up the golf course.

"They wanted to work on some certain things," Parola said. "We were out there until after dark.

"I had a feeling that they had a newfound sense of purpose."

It proved true.

Placing five players in the top 11, Mundelein successfully defended its NSC championship by shooting a 297, two strokes better than Lake Forest (299) at Willow Glen Golf Club in Great Lakes. Stevenson (302) was third.

"Real happy," said Parola, whose team last year won its first conference title in the high school's 50 years. "The kids played well."

Lake Forest's Jack Garrity and Ian Mankoff finished first and second, respectively, as each Scout shot a 2-over 73. Stevenson senior Reed Aren placed third with a 74. Mundelein got 74s from Chuck Mohr (fourth), Mike Lima (fifth) and Bret Cigelnik (sixth). The Mustangs' Grant Heelan was right behind with a 75 (seventh). Mundelein played so well that it didn't even count Derek Parola's 76 (11th).

While Cigelnik, Heelan and Parola have played consistently well all season, what helped Mundelein especially were the rounds turned in by Mohr and Lima, a pair of seniors who have flashed potential.

"Chuck, his last three tournaments, had been making progress and had been playing well," Todd Parola said. "Everybody played well at the right time."

When deciding his lineup, Parola went to his top three players -- his son, Cigelnik and Heelan -- and asked for their input.

"I asked them what we should do," Parola said. "We weren't sure who to play. They suggested we play Mike (Lima). He's capable of going low or capable of going high. Fortunately today, he went low."

Mundelein had a rough week last week, Parola said. Besides getting rained on and rained out at Ivanhoe, the Mustangs competed against Zion-Benton, Libertyville and Stevenson.

"I thought we started to make some improvements Thursday (against Stevenson at Arboretum), and then Friday (at practice) I really thought as a group the kids were really focused," Parola said. "I think they were disappointed in their performance and wanted to make amends for it."

Besides Aren, Stevenson received medal-winning rounds from Tim Kim (75, eighth), Jack Spellman (76, 10th) and Jerry Pan (77, 14th).

Third-place Vernon Hills (317) was led by 77s from Chris Edwards (13th) and Eric Swanson (15th). The Cougars' Russell Hutson (80) was 26th. Fourth-place Libertyville (320) received 79s from Bobby Snader (18th) and Matt Reed (19th), while Chris Considine (25th) carded an 80.

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