Because of lightning and thunder, Prospect's girls golf team missed a full chance to defend its Class AA state girls golf title on Saturday in Decatur.
Saturday's play was canceled meaning the final scores reverted back to Friday, giving New Trier (313) the state title by 4 strokes over runner-up Prospect (317) at the Hickory Point Golf Course.
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Stevenson senior Stephanie Miller (71) won the individual crown for the second time in three years, edging Buffalo Grove senior Grace Kil and Neuqua Valley freshman Jessica Yuen, who tied for second with par 72s.
"What hurts the most is we're not given the opportunity to fully defend the championship," said Knights seven-year coach Jim Hamann. "There is nothing I can say to the girls about that."
But you can say one thing.
Prospect is still one of the elite girls golf programs in the state -- and the long-range forecast is sunny with almost all its top golfers returning for the 2013 season.
No golfers completed more than four holes when play was canceled early Saturday afternoon due to the sound of thunder.
Kil trailed 2012 and 2010 champ Miller by 1 stroke after Friday and still trailed by 1 stroke after they had played four holes Saturday.
The team finish was just the opposite of a year ago when the Knights topped New Trier by 4 strokes (but for 36 holes).
Prospect did accomplish one goal in its three-day visit to Decatur.
"Coming down here we wanted to be the team that had the most fun," Hamann said. "And I think we did that, we had a lot of fun together. It's going to be a long winter waiting to work with these kids again until next June."
One of those who will be back is Knights all-conference golfer Noreen Caporusso, who finished tied for ninth with a 77 on Friday.
"I'm very proud of what my team has been able to accomplish," the junior said. "Even though it's not how we wanted our season to end we did an honorable job battling our way to where we got."
The Knights have reached a level of high expectations.
"It's really exciting," Caporusso added. "After doing this well, and knowing how many of us are back, we think about what we can do next year. We should only be stronger.
"I'm going to miss the season being over so much. I love my team so much, always looking forward to hanging out with my teammates after school, and even during school. We're so close."
Kil was so close to a state crown, capping a recording-setting career at BG with her fourth trip to the state finals.
She was 35th as a freshman, seventh as a sophomore and tied for fourth as a junior.
"Second place (tied with freshman Jessica Yuen of Neuqua Valley) is a tremendous accomplishment," said five-year BG coach Matt Myers. "I think everyone out there was excited to see some quality golf not only between Grace and Stephanie, but the girls around them, too, to see who could pull it out."
Miller and Kil both were lining up birdies putts on their fifth hole when action had to be canceled.
Coincidentally, the two have been playing against each other since the sixth grade. They faced each other the first week of their freshman seasons in a dual meet between Stevenson and Barrington.
"Grace should be nothing but proud about her four years," Myers said. "I think she always had a goal of being a state champ but there is nothing wrong with being second at state and capping off a nice-four year career."
Miller's title marked the fifth straight year a local golfer has won the crown. Conant's Kris Yoo won in 2008 and 2009 followed by Miller in 2010 and Prospect's Allison Walsh in 2011.
"We talk all the time about how good the quality of golf is here in our area," Myers said. "This is just a testament."
Allison Walsh's title helped spark Prospect to its first state title in any girls sport. Now the Knights can line up a runner-up trophy right alongside.
"We're very proud and honored to achieve this," Hamann said. "At the same time, we felt like we had some bad luck. The skies were not our friend. The weather is a variable we can't control. That's the most frustrating part."
But the good part is the future.
The Knights other scores on Friday were produced by sophomore Kacie O'Donnell (77), junior Ally Scaccia (79), junior Emma Menich (80), junior Kiley Walsh (81) and sophomore Isabella Flack (84).
"For Kacie to just start golf last year and average over 50 for nine holes as a freshman, and to then be talking about a couple putts she should have made to be an all-state golfer, is incredible," said Hamann, whose club also won a fifth Mid-Suburban League crown, its third regional in a row and second sectional in three years.
The Knights never finished below second in seven invites and set a school record when they fired a 297 at the Barrington regional.
On the bus ride back, Hamann had time to reflect on the weekend.
"I was thinking of what I would have done better in round one to make up for those four strokes," he said. "I feel like I could have done things better so I'll take responsibility.
"As far as preparation, we did a great job. I am very, very proud of my assistant (Tim Caspar). He is the hardest-working assistant coach in state. We are very proud to bring this trophy back to Prospect High School and it's an incredible accomplishment. I'm also very happy for Noreen being an all-state player. That's a huge accomplishment."
Class 3A state boys: This tournament was also canceled due to adverse weather for its final day of action, leaving Prospect junior Josh Johnson with a top-20 finish (5-over 77) at the Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington.
Matching Johnson with 77s on Friday were Barrington's Michael Ross, a senior who fired a 36 on the back nine, and Brad Powell, a junior.
Those scores gave the Broncos a sixth-place finish, 11 shots behind champion Hinsdale Central.