Scott Iliff has been coaching Glenbard South's boys golf team since 1978, so when he says this is the best Raiders team in a long time, he knows what he's talking about.
The Raiders shot a combined 317 Monday at Broken Arrow Golf Course in Lockport to win the Class 2A Nazareth sectional by 22 strokes over St. Francis. Sophomore Russell Matos carded a 74 to win medalist honors over second-place Jordan Velez of St. Laurence.
"A 317 to me is impressive," Iliff said. "This core group of guys I have is strong. They've held together real well."
Junior Michael Wittenberg carded an 80 to place seventh, and sophomore Christopher Dufort, who won the regional title last week in a playoff against Matos, shot an 81. Junior Kevin Uvodich added an 82.
It was the first time Iliff could recall his team winning conference, regional and sectional titles in the same season. His Raiders have been to state three times in the last four years, though last year's tournament was cut short a day due to rain.
Iliff said the course Monday called for more caution and patience than the team required at last week's regional, when it shot a 283, but his golfers were able to "hold it together."
Iliff was especially impressed with Matos.
"Russell showed his maturity," said Iliff, noting many golfers were visibly struggling with the course conditions. "Every time I saw Russell I could tell he was just having fun."
St. Francis was led by senior John Stolte's 80. Dan Zurawski and Jonathan Nocek each shot an 84. Connor Buckley shot a 91. Montini was the third advancing team with a 343, 4 behind St. Francis.
All three teams advance to the state tournament Friday and Saturday at D.A. Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.
Fenton junior Sebastian Dobon qualified as an individual with an 81.