Mother Nature took over the Makray Memorial Golf Club course at Monday's Class 3A boys golf sectional tournament hosted by Barrington.
The competitors played most of the day in the face of a cold, driving wind -- one that Carmel junior Nick Tasch said "seemed to change direction on every hole."
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And while many of the golfers merely survived, Barrington and Huntley senior Ryan Craig thrived.
The host Broncos won the meet with a score of 314 to advance to this weekend's state tournament, while Craig shot a stunningly good 1-under-par 70 while battling the elements to take medalist honors.
Craig will move on to compete as an individual at the "Den" in Bloomington this Friday and Saturday.
It'll be the senior's first trip to the state finals after just missing in 2011, falling short in a sectional playoff -- to his brother Trent, no less.
Craig talked about the challenge of playing against Monday's gale-force winds.
"I had to club up about one to three clubs at times," said the senior. "But I made a lot of solid putts -- I was putting well, and even when I missed a green today, I was able to get up and down."
The Broncos, who bested defending state champion Lake Forest (320) by 6 strokes, were led by junior Brad Powell. He fired a 74 -- the day's third-best score.
Not a bad round for a guy who said he was "so nervous" that he hit his first shot of the day into the water on the par 4 10th.
"At that point," said the junior, who recorded 4 birdies on the day, "I was just hoping to bounce back and string together a few pars in a row, and I was able to do that.
"Basically, I was able to keep the ball in play and my putts were falling."
The Scouts and Highland Park (325) also advanced to the state team competition. Carmel also shot 325, but despite 80's from Tommy Schofield and Jackson Wietcha, failed to move on after coming up short on a fifth-score tiebreaker.
On the individual side, Stevenson's Reed Aren qualified for Bloomington with a medal-winning score of 78, as did Cary-Grove's Jarret Kinney.
Kinney said that he had seen the forecast and knew as soon as got on the first tee that it would be a difficult day to play.
"The conditions were very tough," said the senior, who also will be making his first appearance at the "Den". "Luckily I was hitting the ball fantastic off the tee."
Other area golfers who will advance to the state meet as individuals -- all carding 79s -- are Jack Spellman of Stevenson, Hudson Luthringshausen of St. Viator, Brett Cigelnik of Mundelein, Sean Kozak of Jacobs and Josh Johnson of Prospect.
While not advancing to this weekend's finals, Tasch (81), Jeff Blethen of Prospect (81), Derek Parola (81) from Mundelein and St. Viator's Luke DeTrempe (81) all played extremely well.
Alex Byers of McHenry (82), Tyler Ross (83) of Huntley, Riley Lindholm of McHenry (84), Robert Renner from the Lions (84), Jared Moore of Carmel (84) and Nick Mathers (84) of Cary-Grove also posted top-flight scores.
For the winning Broncos, Greg Conrad (78, tie for fourth-place medal), Michael Ross (80), and Nick Schippel (82) all made significant contributions.
"This means so much to us," said Conrad, a senior. "We got off to a slow start this season but we've been playing our best golf at the end of the year. I'm excited for the guys."
Barrington coach Mike Kallenbach couldn't agree more.
"It's so difficult to even get out of a sectional, especially with this many quality teams and individuals," said Kallenbach, "that to win it is the best feeling there is."