Girls golf: Ciskowski, Barrington tune up with sectional victory
Bring on the marching band.
Barrington's girls golf team won a sectional for the first time since 2008 and junior Nicole Ciskowski became the third Filly in school history to earn medalist honors.
Led by Ciskowski's 2-over-par 73 and sophomore Caroline Smith's 74 (tied for second), Barrington scored a 305 to claim its own Class AA sectional on Monday at Makray Memorial Golf Course in Barrington.
Also advancing to Decatur (Hickory Point Golf Club) for Friday's state tournament were runner-up St. Charles North (318) and third-place finisher Stevenson (328).
"The girls have always talked about having a 'side-winder,' and now they get to have one," said Barrington Hall of Fame coach Jodi Schoeck who won her fifth sectional. "The girls get to walk through the hallways at school with the marching band playing in front of them. Everyone comes out of the classroom cheering for them. It's a big deal for them and a nice way to showcase the team."
Rounding out the Fillies' third straight 18-hole tourney championship (they'd recently won the Mid-Suburban League meet and regional) were freshman Stephanie Su (75) and junior Ishani Majmudar (83).
Ciskowski follows in the footsteps of Pam Buff (1995) and Julia Calbi (2011) as Barrington sectional champions.
"It's incredible," said Ciskowski, an Indiana recruit whose sister Heather is a Mid-Suburban League champion. "It's definitely something you dream about."
Ciskowski had 2 birdies and was hitting the fairways with regularity.
"I was really confident hitting into the greens and it was really nice to be comfortable on our home course. I knew what was coming ahead on each hole. This is very exciting. We've got dreams about what we want to achieve downstate."
Smith's round included 4 birdies, including one on her first hole.
"I was hitting the driver well," said the two-time defending MSL champion. "Not every shot was going my way, but I was hitting the ball in the fairway and making the 5-foot putts for par, which helped my round."
Smith is headed downstate with her team for the second straight season.
"It's the best feeling in the world," she said. "Everyone is so excited. It's an amazing feeling. Winning the sectional gives us more confidence for state."
St. Charles North knows something about sectionals as the North Stars advanced to state for the fourth time in coach Irish Whalen's four seasons in charge.
Emma Hayes' 74 was followed by teammates Megan Furtney (77), Sarah Arnold (82) and Katelyn David (85).
All are three-year varsity golfers.
"We came into the meet wanting to get first, second or third," Whalen said. "Obviously our main goal was advancing as a team."
Hayes shot a 91 and 81 as a freshman at Hickory Point, then a pair of 81s last fall.
"Hopefully I can break the 80s this time," she said. "Today was a pretty typical round for me. It was definitely good for the difficulty of this course. I was pretty happy.
"I've been in the 70s pretty much all season. This was definitely my highlight of the season and gives me confidence for the state meet."
"Emma's 74 today was fantastic," Whalen said. "This course was playing quick, hard, and you need a lot of placement shots. And she came out and kind of dialed in to what she had to do."
Furtney missed four months this summer with an injury to her pinkie finger.
"She been back for us about three weeks," Whalen said. "We are just happy to have her healthy and playing again."
And playing well. After winning the conference meet with a 70 on Sept. 25, Furtney delivered a 77 to tie for 10th on Monday.
"I'm excited to be back playing," said Furtney who converted a 30-foot birdie putt on the par 3 No. 4 and missed an eagle by inches with a 6-foot foot on a par 5 hole.
"We're really exited as a team," Furtney said. "Obviously the ultimate goal is to be able to go to state as a team. I don't think we played as well as we wanted, but maybe we are saving some of the low scores for state which would be really good."
Whalen hopes the experience will pay off.
"These kids are juniors now and they're just more mature," she said. "They are looking to just go one step at a time. It's the same group as when they were freshman. They're very competitive and having fun."
In contrast, Stevenson will be making its first team appearance in 10 years.
Coach Emma Degen's youthful squad was led by sophomore Joyce Bai (79), freshman Kelly Dong (81), freshman Sophia Zhuang (84) and sophomore Julia Yoo (84).
Bai, who shot an 82 in last year's sectional, is advancing to state for the first time.
"I did much better than in my practice round here," said Bai, whose sank a pair of birdie putts. "I wouldn't say it was a great day but it could have been worse."
Degen felt her team had a chance to qualify in her third season in charge of the program.
"But did I think we'd be in this position? No," she said. "The girls came out and played very well on a very tough course. It came down to our depth again.
"My two seniors (Olivia Stomberg and Katherine Hannahs, who were third and fourth in the regional last week), our two sophomores and two freshmen are six kids who can constantly rotate for us and pick each other up. That's the reason we are here."
The Patriots finished three strokes ahead of Rockford Guilford (331).
"I'm just really excited for the girls," Degen added. "It's going to be a fun week and fun weekend. It's a great experience for these kids because we will be coming back with a lot of them next season. It's good that they will see the golf course down state -- good for the future."
Among the area golfers who qualified for the state meet as individuals are Wheeling junior Adrienne Rohwedder (74), Buffalo Grove senior Haeri Lee (75), Geneva senior Darby Lillibridge (76), and Palatine senior Jenny Myslinski (78).
Rohwedder, who became the first female golfer from Wheeling to compete in the state finals last fall, is heading back after finishing in a five-way tie for second among individuals.
She collected 4 birdies en route to her state-qualifying round.
"My drives were hitting the fairways," Rohwedder said. "I wanted to get downstate again for my high school."
Lee, who tied for sixth with her 75, is going downstate for the second year in a row.
"It was really windy and it was a lot of target golf," said Lee, who finished strong with 3 birdies on her back nine. "My tees shots were better than in the regional. I had better starts on each hole and that helped. I wanted to get back down state because this was my last chance as a senior."
Lillibridge is also a two-time state qualifier. She produced 4 birdies.
"It was a good day," she said. "I stayed consistent and just went hole by hole, never looking ahead to the next shot. I got in a rhythm at the end and finished strong. I was confident with the driver and putter and that definitely helped."
Myslinski saved the best for last.
Palatine's only four-year varsity golfer produced the finest round of her high school career with a 79, placing her 13th in the talented field.
"It's awesome," said Myslinski, who also play varsity basketball. "I played two practice rounds here so I kind of got comfortable with the course. I just felt real confident and hit solid through all my swings."