Crystal Lake edges Naperville N. for sectional crown

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/14/2013 10:59 PM

The flawless season the Crystal Lake Co-op girls golf team has sculpted remained intact.

Lexi Harkins, the North Carolina-bound Crystal Lake Central senior who finished third in the state as a sophomore, came home with a level-par 35 on her inward nine at Ingersoll Golf Course to lead the three-school program to a 328-332 victory over Naperville North.

Ten shots separated the first five schools at the Class AA Rockford Guilford sectional Monday, but it was St. Charles North that snared the final team berth to the state finals this weekend.

The North Stars' twin standout freshmen, Gi Furrie and Kate Lillie, had rounds of 76 and 80 as St. Charles North eked past Barrington by a mere shot, 335-336.

Waubonsie Valley junior Bing Singhsumalee had a 3-putt bogey on her final hole to lose her level-par performance, but her 73 was a shot better than fellow state contender Jessica Yuen of Neuqua Valley for medalist honors.

The Warriors finished at 340 as a team for fifth place.

The second tier of programs was appreciably behind the top teams as Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville Central, Glenbard West, Rockford Boylan, West Chicago, Burlington Central and Huntley rounded out the field.

It was the ninth tournament victory of the season for Crystal Lake.

"I was afraid we weren't going to make it," Crystal Lake coach Kathy Speaker said of her thoughts the round unfolded. "(Winning the sectional) makes it special. This is the first time in history that we have won every tournament we have played in."

One low round can often propel an entire team downstate, and Harkins' play proved to be the difference.

"I'm pretty happy with that score," Harkins said after posting a solo third 75. "I didn't start off very well, but then I eagled the (par-5) eighth. It feels great to play well when your team needs you."

Larissa Luloff (80), Bailey Bostler (86) and Alexandra Siavelis (87) were the other contributing athletes for Crystal Lake.

Furrie played in a marquee pairing with Upstate Eight Conference champion Singhsumalee and WW South junior Kelly Anderson, who captured the DuPage Valley Conference title.

After making bogeys on three of her first five holes, Furrie parlayed a pair of birdies into a 1-under eight-hole run in the middle of her round.

The North Stars' ninth-grader finished strong as well to cap her fourth-place 76.

"It's a big deal (to qualify for team state) because we haven't done it since (2005)," Furrie said. "We have been hoping for this all season. All and all, I played well."

Lillie complemented her freshman classmate with an 80, and the North Stars' team total was completed by Jessica Grill and Carly Hudon posting respective scores of 88 and 91.

The North Stars' team score was the leader among the morning wave, and it proved to be enough to ease past Barrington by a shot.

"We talk all the time about how a (dual) match can come down to one shot, how a tournament can come down to one shot," St. Charles North coach Chris Patrick said. "We did what we had to do today."

Sam Scroggin and Gabi Spinazze are the North Stars' fifth and sixth downstate members.

Burlington Central senior Jenna Kuroski was searching for a second consecutive trip to the state meet.

But the Rockets' top player had a rough patch after the turn, ultimately missing the individual cut line of 84 by a pair of shots.

"I couldn't figure out what was going wrong (with my driver)," Kuroski said. "(My drives) were definitely the weakest part of my game."

Kaneland junior Tori Guyton had the same score of 86 in forging the low score among the area at-large competitors.

"I thought I played well," said Guyton, the younger sibling of four-time state qualifier and former state runner-up Hayley.

Jordan Lange (88) and Darby Crane (92) had their careers close for West Aurora and St. Charles East, respectively.

Taylor Arenson once again had her fingerprints all over the first downstate appearance for Naperville North in 13 years.

The Huskies' returning state qualifier overcame back-to-back double bogeys on the back nine to lead Naperville North with an 80.

Depth and consistency have been the hallmarks of the program this season for Naperville North.

"It's going to be so much better to go down with the team instead of going as an individual," Arenson said. "We deserved it. We have played well the whole season."

Blayne Yarmat, Christine Grzesiak and Maddie Krejci were a shot apart between 83 and 85 to complement Arenson.

"That was (the girls') goal since the start of the season," Naperville North coach Greta Williams said. "We didn't play our best. They were frustrated the whole way through (their rounds)."

Singhsumalee and WW South junior Kelly Anderson qualified for the state tournament for the third consecutive year.

Paired together, Singhsumalee had back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eights holes; the reigning state amateur champion added another pair of red numbers on the back nine.

The 1-over 73 earned the Thailand native more postseason hardware.

"I just wanted to play well," Singhsumalee said. "There is a lot of good competition here. (The front-nine birdies) helped get my confidence back."

Anderson had a brilliant up-and-down par on No. 11 and drained a long birdie putt at the 16th hole to offset an otherwise less-than-precise round.

"I kept missing greens," Anderson said of her 78. "It was so frustrating. I gained more confidence as the round wore on."

Yuen, the talented Neuqua Valley sophomore who tied for state runner-up last season, returns for another run after firing a 74.

Among at-large state qualifiers, eight of the 10 spots were occupied by local players.

Addison Trail senior Gia De La Cruz survived a three-way, two-hole playoff for her third straight state berth.

Metea Valley produced two state qualifiers for the first time in the same season as Niquole Mangal and Katelyn Kline (who qualified for Benet last year) shot identical 77s.

West Chicago senior Hannah Netsingha and Benet freshman Isabella Abdullah also finished inside the cut line, which fell at 84.

It the cruelest of final days to the golf season for Barrington.

"It's heartbreaking," said Shivani Majmuder, one of two freshman for the Fillies to make the state finals. "Everybody kept thinking about that one putt they could have made that one putt. I'm really happy with my back-nine score (38)."

Barrington would have had the tiebreaker over St. Charles North for the third slot to Decatur.

Renee Sulkar fired an 83 to capture the ninth outright at-large berth for Barrington.

The ninth-grader was 2 shots off the 81 that Majmuder authored.

"Going (to state) as a freshman is exciting; maybe they have a chance to go all four years," Barrington coach Jodi Schoeck said. "We're excited for Shivani and Renee."

Schoeck had a difficult time composing herself as she discussed the Fillies' season.

"It's tough," Schoeck of the razor-thin loss to St. Charles North. "At the beginning of the season, nobody thought they would see use (at the sectional). We didn't even qualify for the sectional as a team last year. It's a testament to the girls' work ethic. That one stroke is going to stick with them for a while."

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.