Naperville North continues amazing run
Naperville North made a major statement Wednesday in its attempt to reassert its legacy in girls golf.
The Huskies once had a run of qualifying for 19 state tournaments in a 20-year period under legendary coach Ed Rosenthal. But Naperville North has not had a team make the state cut since 2000.
At the Class AA Neuqua Valley regional at Naperbrook Golf Course in Plainfield, Taylor Arenson survived a showdown with Waubonsie Valley state amateur champion Bing Singhsumalee and Neuqua Valley sophomore Jessica Yuen to spearhead the Huskies' program-setting performance.
Arenson, after a level-par opening nine, played the back nine in 2-under to defeat playing companions Singhsumalee and Yuen by a pair each for medalist honors with a 70.
Caroline Pierson, Christine Grzesiak and Blayne Yarmat followed suit with respective rounds of 78, 80 and 82; the resulting 310 was not only a school record by 13 shots but also enabled Naperville North to ease past Waubonsie Valley by 20 shots for its sixth tournament title of the year.
Naperville Central edged Neuqua Valley, 353-355, for the third qualifying team slot to the Rockford Guilford sectional on Monday.
Benet and Metea Valley had two at-large qualifiers each in rounding out the local field in fifth and eighth place.
"It feels good to play well when it counts," said Arenson, who concluded a flawless inward nine with a birdie at the last to seal her fourth individual 18-hole championship this fall.
"It feels good to finally put everything together. I had the most focus I have had the whole season."
"Taylor is that quiet competitor," Naperville North coach Greta Williams. "She can shoot scores like those two players (Singhsumalee and Yuen)."
Waubonsie Valley had its three-year regional title run end, but Singhsumalee and senior Rebecca O'Bryan anchored the Warriors with rounds of 72 and 74.
"I thought of this as practice for the sectional and state," Singhsumalee said. "It's nice to have the support of the team (at the sectional)."
O'Bryan fired a level-par 36 coming in to complement an opening-nine 38.
"It was my best 18-(hole score) and my best nine — all in one round," O'Bryan said. "I was pretty confident going into (the day)."
Naperville Central advanced to its first sectional as a team in four years behind senior Avleen Bhandal and freshman Riya Anand.
Yuen began her day with birdies on half of her first six holes, but the sophomore, who tied for state runner-up last year, gave the three shots back in tying Singhsumalee with a 72.
"(My putts) just weren't going in," Yuen said. "I knew that (Arenson) was under par on the back nine."
Katelyn Kline and Niquole Mangal advanced for Metea Valley with a 78 and 81; Benet freshman Isabella Abdullah was comfortably under the individual cut of 92 with an 80, while Gretchen Schramko made the cut on the number for the Redwings.
Jordan Lange is returning to familiar territory for West Aurora.
For the third consecutive season the Blackhawks' top-ranked player qualified for the sectional.
Lange had the best score among the 18 Tri-Cities competitors with a personal-low 84; junior teammate MacKenzie Fabrizius also is in for West Aurora with an 87.
Geneva (369) also advanced a pair of at-large qualifiers to Rockford as Mary Clare Novak led the Vikings with an 88.
Kari Kirl, making her regional debut, made the individual cut of 92 on the number for the other Geneva selection.
Batavia, however, was shut out of sectional qualifiers.
The Bulldogs (386) had all six scores in the 90s, but Erin Ewart, Candace Eamon, Lauren Anderson and Becca Hasemann all missed to lesser degrees.
"I was really nervous going off No. 1 (No. 10 in actuality)," Lange said. "I birdied the (par-5) 18th, my ninth hole. That got me going. I knew where the trouble was (at Naperbrook). I knew where not to hit it. This is my low 18-(hole) score."
West Aurora (371) was a pair behind the Geneva pace to finish in seventh in arguably the toughest regional in the state.
"There is so much parity in this regional," Naperville Central coach Jane Thompson said.
But the Blackhawks had the consolation of recording the two lowest scores among the three area programs as junior Fabrizius came in right after Lange to advance for the second straight year.
"I didn't start off very well," said Fabrizius, who finished with an 87. "I still made the best of what I could do. (My score) could have been a lot worse."
Novak extended her season for Geneva with ideal timing.
"It's the best score I have put up this season," Novak said of her 88. "I did pretty well."
Kirl was of three competitors to record a 92; there was no need for a playoff as the number of advancing individuals was exactly 10.
"It was my goal to be below 100," Kirl said. "I did better than I thought I would."
Batavia was the lone school without a sectional qualifier.
"They all came in with decent, respectable scores at conference," Batavia coach Morgan Connell said. "They all made improvements (during the season)."
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