Girls golf: Sulkar, Janess lead Barrington to MSL crown
For one, the short game is a strength. For the other, it's the long game.
Barrington junior golfers Sophia Sulkar and Mara Janess are completely different golfers. But they sure come up with similar results.
They were two of the best golfers in the state last year, and they showed on a cold and breezy Tuesday afternoon at Arlington Lakes Golf Club that they haven't missed a beat.
Sulkar and Janess finished first and second respectively in the Mid-Suburban League girls golf championship to lead Barrington to its fifth straight league title.
The Fillies finished with a team score of 304 while second-place Prospect had a 331.
Sulkar recorded a 71 while Janess checked in with a 75.
"Our games are different," Sulkar said. "Mara hits further than me. That's a strong spot of her game. A lot of it for me comes down to the short game and I'm strong in that and accuracy.
"It's definitely competitive between us."
But it's a healthy competitive.
Sulkar and Janess often measure themselves against each other. And they both say that while they are cheering each other on as teammates, their friendly rivalry has helped each of them improve individually.
"We want each other to do well, but we each want to win, too," Janess said. "It pushes me to do better."
Last year, Janess had the upper hand.
Both Sulkar and Janess were stars for Barrington as sophomores. They helped the Fillies (12-0 in 2020) finish second in the 2019 state championship, just one stroke behind state champion Stevenson, a team that they beat by 10 strokes in a dual meet earlier this season.
Janess won the individual title in 2019 with a 147. Sulkar finished fifth with a 149.
"They are great teammates and they motivate each other to keep working and improving," Barrington coach Tim Martin said. "They had great offseasons working hard and this year they just got better and better.
"And for Sophia to come out here today and win this thing just shows you just how good she's become and all the work she's put in. She played great. It was not an easy day."
It won't be an easy end to the season for either Sulkar or Janess. Both had big dreams, of improving even more on their state finals scores from last year, and of finally leading Barrington to an elusive state championship.
The Fillies have finished second in the state in each of the last four years, to four different teams. They were looking to finally break through this fall. But due to COVID-19 restrictions, the IHSA is staging only regionals and sectionals for golf, not a state finals.
That means Janess doesn't get a chance to defend and add to her 2019 state title, and Sulkar doesn't get a chance to dethrone her.
"It's completely out of our control," Janess said. "As much as I want to be frustrated, I can't be because there's nothing I can do about it. I definitely wanted a chance to compete and it would have been great. But I'm trying not to get down or upset. I'm just trying to play my best in the sectional."
Sulkar is taking the same approach.
"(Sectional) is what we have," Sulkar said. "We won't have the opportunity to play at state, just regionals and sectionals. We'll try to play our best there."
Barrington swept the first three individual spots. After Sulkar and Janess was Simran Singh with a 78. Bri Arzabaecher of Prospect took fourth with a 79 while Prospect's Emma Preissing and Barrington's Leah Gaidos tied for fifth, each with an 80.
Fremd finished in third as a team with a 337, Rolling Meadows was fourth with a 366 and Hersey was fifth with a 368.