West Chicago, Geneva win UEC tournament titles
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On its fourth attempt for an Upstate Eight Conference River Division boys golf championship, Geneva unveiled the perfect ingredients.
Nate Desens' 3-over-par 74 at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club Wednesday in West Chicago was not only the low round but also secured the Vikings' senior MVP honors in the seven-team division.
All four Geneva counting scorers were 79 or better as the Vikings completed a flawless season with their 312-319 victory over St. Charles North.
Geneva had finished runner-up to St. Charles East every time since joining the league in 2010.
St. Charles East was third at 322, followed closely by Larkin (324), Batavia and Streamwood; Elgin did not have enough players for a team score.
In the Valley Division the unpredictable nature of the sport reached its zenith as West Chicago, making its league debut, stunned Waubonsie Valley 313-316 for top honors.
West Chicago entered the league championship with a lone victory — a forfeit over East Aurora — during regular-season divisional match play.
Neuqua Valley, which was undefeated in its six divisional contests, ballooned to fourth place — needing a tiebreaker over Bartlett in the process.
As a result, Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley were declared co-champions of the Valley.
It was the third title for Waubonsie Valley in four years; Neuqua Valley was the defending champion.
South Elgin was third at 329, and Metea Valley was sixth at 345 in the Valley.
In addition to Desens' medalist performance, Geneva received top-10 efforts from Graham Lillibridge, Alex Schreiber and Matt Fisher.
"To have four guys in the 70s for us is good," Desens said. "It feels really good to win."
"It's good to know that we won for our coach (Bill Koehn) in his last year," said fellow Geneva senior Brett Hassels.
Koehn had originally planned to retire after last year, but the tragic death of one of his greatest players — 2003 graduate Raymond Kaligian — last spring prompted him to return for a final season.
"This is my 10th conference championship in 30 years," Koehn said. "(Desens) has been very, very consistent for pretty much the whole year."
St. Charles North senior Matt Samuelson was a shot behind Desens with a 75 to place runner-up; classmate Raghav Cherala, the two-time defending divisional player of the year, earned his fourth career all-conference selection with his fourth-place 77.
"I played really well today," Samuelson said. "(St. Andrews) was a tough course, and I was hoping to step up to the challenge."
"It has been a great experience," Cherala said of his unique accomplishment. "This has been a fantastic life experience more than simply just golf."
Luke Molloy and Connor McCadam were fifth and eighth, respectively, to lead St. Charles East.
All-conference senior Jacob Piechota was the low man for host Batavia with an 80.
In the Valley Division there was a widespread sense of incredulousness.
"I was absolutely shocked when I heard West Chicago's (regular-season) record," Neuqua Valley coach Bart Carbonneau said. "I thought it was all over for us (for overall team champion)."
"Looks like (West Chicago) played their best match of the season," Waubonsie Valley coach Dave Owles said. "Give credit to them."
"We lost a couple of (regular-season duals) on the tiebreaker," first-year West Chicago coach Neal Golyshko said. "It's nice to see everything come together with the six guys we brought today."
West Chicago senior Ryan Orr lost a sudden-death playoff with eventual Valley Division MVP Jason Marrs of Waubonsie Valley after the two finished regulation at 2-over 73.
"The team bonding was a huge plus for us," Orr said. "It's a really special feeling being apart of this. (West Chicago) hasn't come in first at conference since the 70s."
Nick Tomei was solo fourth for West Chicago with a 77.
Marrs became the third consecutive player of the year for the Warriors.
Waubonsie Valley also had the third-place performer in Zach Mayer, who fired a 75.
"This is a team event," Marrs said. "I am more happy about (sharing the conference title) as a team than winning as an individual. Golf becomes more of an individual sport at the state tournament."
Larkin had the low score among the Elgin-area U-46 schools in attendance.
Brothers Jon and Dan Lenz anchored the Royals' 324 team total with respective rounds of 75 and 79.
Jon Lenz was fourth overall with his 4-over total, while Dan Lenz was ninth with his 79.
Tyler Kalusa and Jack McCracken were the other contributing athletes for the Royals.
"Both of (the Lenz brothers) are playing their best golf at the right time of the season," Larkin coach Tim Jones said. "Considering we only won two conference matches, we did very well today. In order to move on in the next phase of the season — the regional — everyone has to play well."
In the turbulence of the Valley shakeup, South Elgin was third overall and on the day after the Storm shot a collective 329.
Deven Meredith and Ethan Hildebrandt both earned all-conference distinctions for the Storm with their respective fifth- and sixth-place rounds of 81.
Bartlett senior Chris Dungey also made the all-conference team as the senior parlayed twin medalist performances during the regular season as his linchpin.
Dungey seeks an ever-elusive goal: to at least reach the Naperville Central sectional when the postseason starts next week.
"I guarantee it," Dungey said.
Eric Hamlin was the low scorer for Streamwood with an 82; Josh Hegel fired a 100 for three-man Elgin.
This article filed under
- Carol Stream
- Hanover Park
- Hoffman Estates
- West Chicago
- Bartlett High School
- Batavia High School
- Geneva High School
- Metea Valley High School
- Neuqua Valley High School
- St. Charles East High School
- St. Charles North High School
- Streamwood High School
- Waubonsie Valley High School
- West Chicago Community High School
- Prep Boys
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