Girls golf: Stevenson, Wheeling's Rohwedder tops at Buffalo Grove regional
Wheeling senior Symantha Rohwedder enjoys the outdoors, and has even caught some pretty big fish.
On Thursday, she caught fire at the Buffalo Grove Golf Club.
Rohwedder reeled in the field at the Class 2A Buffalo Grove regional with a whopping 6-under par 69 to outdistance her closest rival by 4 strokes and easily win medalist honors.
Runner-up Sophia Zhuang, a junior from Stevenson who equaled her best high school score (73), helped lead the Patriots to the team championship with a score of 304.
Mid-Suburban League powers Barrington (311) and Prospect (340) were second and third to also advance to the Prospect sectional on Monday.
Rohwedder, whose sister Adrienne (Carthage freshman) qualified for state the last three years, will be looking to reach Decatur for the first time.
Her 6-birdie bogey-free round on the par-75 layout was the best in school history, breaking her sister's record of 2-under (71) at the Bonnie Dundee Golf Course in Carpentersville.
"Putting was the best part of my game today," said Rohwedder, whose longest was a 20-foot birdie putt. "In recent events, I haven't putted the best but today I made a lot."
Rohwedder went 4-under on her first nine holes (the back nine) and closed out her round converting a 10-footer on No. 9.
"I'm ecstatic for her," said Wheeling coach Peggy Ellsworth, a former standout three-sport athlete at Arlington High School who played golf at Southern Illinois. "I was so nervous on her last four holes. I was jumping out of my skin.
"The fact that she was 4-under on her first nine says even more about her because I was afraid she was going get ahead of herself and think about the final score and lose it. But she played great. She stayed in the moment and just put it all together today. She's struggled a little this year so I couldn't be happier for her."
Patriots coach Emma Degen was quite happy about her team's first regional title since 2009 and only the third in school history.
Zhuang's 2-under score was combined with freshman Allie Santos (76), sophomore Emily Duan (77) and senior Joyce Bai (78)
"It was gorgeous weather and our girls all played the best they could," Degen said. "They played exactly how we knew they could. It was fun to watch. On the course, they were talking about some bad holes they had so when they came in with their scores, I was impressed.
"Sophia shot lights out. We needed that from someone and it was cool to see it come from her."
Zhuang said the key was staying relaxed.
"I went into every single shot not thinking about the outcome," she said. "I was thinking about just doing it for my team because I just love high school golf."
Degen's Patriots have qualified for the state finals the last two years, finishing 12th and fifth.
"We haven't won any trophies yet" Degen said. "But hopefully we can change that this year."
The Patriots' score of 304 was the lowest in any regional in the state on Thursday.
"Stevenson played great," said Barrington coach Tim Martin. "They've been a favorite to win state all season and you saw why today."
Martin's Fillies were led by sophomore Mara Janess (74), senior Caroline Smith (75), senior Samantha Saile (81) and junior Sophia Dennison (81).
"Our goal was to advance to the sectional and we did that," Martin said. "I'm very happy with Sophia Dennison shooting 1-under on her back nine. Mara played the back nine in five or six under to shoot under par for the day.
"We had a lot of good things for the team. We're looking forward to playing at Mount Prospect again. It's treated us well this season."
Prospect's third-place finish was led by junior Kelly Kavanagh (77), junior Emma Preissing (86), junior Bella Peshek (88) and senior Olivia Accardi (89).
"It wasn't our best scores of the season and I know some of my kids are not happy but that's what the playoffs are about -- survive and advance," said Prospect coach Brad Rathe. "Bella stepped up on back nine and that was huge. I think it gave our other kids confidence to hear how well she was playing. And Emma Preissing was solid the whole round, too. I think she'd like a few shots back but she played great."
Other individual qualifiers included Fremd seniors Liz Prigge and Kelly Liu, Buffalo Grove sophomore Eva Ruterschmidt and senior Alisa Patel and Hersey sophomore Sydney Ohr.
"Liz and Kelly advanced to the sectional last year," said Fremd coach Jeremy Malinowski. "They put some pressure on themselves to get back. They know how important it was and they're seniors. Now they'll start over on Monday. We haven't found a way to beat a difficult Mount Prospect course but I think Monday is the day for those two."
Ohr will be playing in her first sectional.
"She shot the score she needed to get through," said Hersey coach Dan Vesper. "She had to wait it out for a couple of other scores to come in. But she was ready for a playoff and she'll be ready for Monday as well."