Boys golf: Geneva duo headed back to state
The six-time defending Class 3A state champions inched ever closer to Normal U-High for boys golf state immortality Monday in Bartlett.
But Tyler Isenhart and Jack McDonald also continued their extraordinary four-year careers for at least one more time for Geneva.
The Vikings and the other 10 qualifying teams could not match the firepower of Hinsdale Central at the Class 3A South Elgin sectional at Bartlett Hills as Iowa-bound senior Mac McClear led the Red Devils to an authoritative 290-310 victory over Geneva in their second postseason preliminary in hopes of matching the record of seven straight titles U-High hoisted.
Isenhart, headed to Baylor after back-to-back third-place individual finishes, and McDonald punched tickets to the state tournament at the Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington for a fourth consecutive year.
Isenhart fired a 2-over par 73, and McDonald had a 77 in support to lead the Vikings to an equal number of team appearances.
"It's really cool we made it downstate for four years in a row," Isenhart said. "We have set a lot of school records along the way. It's been a really fun journey."
"We seem to step up at big moments at sectionals," McDonald said. "That was our goal going into the season, to make it down to state."
Joe Novak and Will Klaus fired complementary rounds of 79 and 81.
Isenhart and McDonald are the second and third athletes in the program's history to advance out of four sectionals.
"It's hard to verbalize," Geneva coach Eric Hactzel said of his seniors' shared accomplishment. "They really drive the team, even as freshmen. I never really thought 310 would make it out."
West Aurora senior Ryan Vanderway had to earn the distinction of making the state grade all by himself for a third straight year.
The individual cut -- which surprisingly did not require a playoff -- fell at 5-over 76.
Vanderway earned one of 10 at-large berths with a back-nine 37 that translated into a 75.
"I just knew that if I played well that I would make it," Vanderway said. "I knew I had to stay around level par on the back. I didn't feel pressure."
Marmion senior Peter Thayer lost out to Vanderway at the Glenbard East sectional, only to make the cut on the number in his final sectional.
"I was hoping I was able to maintain my number (coming in) and advance," Thayer said. "A year ago I shot a 76. I think the course was harder this year."
Bartlett senior Justin Everson also had a 75 to earn his first state bid.
St. Charles East (322) and St. Charles North (340) had their seasons co me to a close as respective team leaders David Griggs (79) and Alex Lilly (78) fell short.
One score has the potential to transform a team at the sectional.
Will Troy had impeccable timing to continue a magical Waubonsie Valley season.
The Warriors, less than a week removed for their first regional championship in school history, had Troy deliver the goods in dramatic fashion.
The final Waubonsie Valley hope, Troy posted a level-par 71 to lead the Warriors past Neuqua Valley (319), Wheaton North (318) and Wheaton Warrenville South (318).
The Warriors earned the highly cherished third position to Bloomington with their 314 total.
"I didn't have a clue where we were at," Troy said as the last player among the regional team champions' foursome. "I was just trying to make pars, a couple of birdies and help our team in any sort of way. We haven't been to state in almost 10 years (2009)."
"We have got a bunch of guys who are workhorses," Waubonsie Valley coach Eric Flodberg said. "They will outwork anybody out here."
Jacob Fritz had a 78 to supplement Troy for Waubonsie Valley.
Troy and McClear had to settle for a shared runner-up finish as Aidan Lafferty, who tied McClear for fifth in state last fall, was the medalist for Downers Grove North with his 3-under 68.
But the Red Devils were the class of the 12-team field with their 20-shot win over Geneva.
State veterans Josh Lundmark and Gabe Larson had matching 72s for Hinsdale Central.
"We just try to make it fun," McClear said. "You have to make it look like an opportunity. We don't want to make it look like a burden."
Scott Boyajian is the first multiple state qualifier for Metea Valley with his 76.
Sam Gerry (74), Matt Newman (75) and Tyler Schettek (75) are state bound for Wheaton North, Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central.
"My front nine was really good," Boyajian said. "I was a little up and down but shot well. I knew what it was going to take to make it down."
"I really wanted to get out this year," Gerry said. "This was my third time playing the sectional. (I had) a lot of pars, a lot of greens (in regulation). It was kind of boring."
Schettek was a member of the advancing Naperville Central team last fall.
"I had a shaky start," Schettek said. "Not as fun without the team."