Girls golf: Huntley, Burlington Central's Gusciora tops at FVC tourney
Huntley's girls golf team finished a perfect Fox Valley Conference season Wednesday after winning all seven of its duals during the regular season, although it didn't come easy for the Red Raiders.
Huntley held off Prairie Ridge, 382 to 384, in blustery conditions at Crystal Woods to capture the FVC Tournament championship for the second time in the past three seasons.
Senior Hallie Holmes paced the Raiders with a 93, sophomore Aubrey Dingbaum had a 94, senior Haley Szramek had a 95 and junior Abby Panier had a 100.
"Each match, we just get better and better and better," Huntley coach Ann Christiansen said. "With the conditions, it was a struggle. This morning there was no sun. It was chilly and windy. They really played their hearts out."
Last year's Raiders, which also did not lose a FVC dual, were defeated by Burlington Central at the FVC tournament and finished one point behind the Rockets in the final conference standings. That scenario would have played out again Wednesday if the Wolves shot a lower score than the Raiders.
"We all did really great this year. I'm very proud of everyone," Holmes said. "I was new last year, but this year I was a bigger part of the team so it feels great. I've been blown away by everyone on the team. It's more a team win than any individual."
Dingbaum and Holmes entered as Huntley's Nos. 1 and 2 golfers, but Christiansen said anyone on the team was capable of going low.
"This has been kind of an unusual year because we have a lot of depth, and we've never really had that before," Christiansen said. "Any one of our girls can shoot in the 40s, and that's really what has kept us going."
Dingbaum played varsity as a freshman as the team's No. 6 golfer but has been one of the Raiders' top scorers this season. She said Wednesday's conditions were something the team had not faced all year.
"It was rough out there," Dingbaum said. "I thought I'd come in a lot lower, but it was still pretty competitive out there. It was still a lot of fun. I had a good time."
Burlington Central senior Maya Gusciora won medalist honors with an 82, Prairie Ridge senior Elizabeth Tucker finished second with an 88, and McHenry sophomore Madison Donovan and Crystal Lake Central co-op sophomore Addison Clearly tied for fourth with 89s. Crystal Lake Central co-op freshman Delaney Medlyn (92) rounded out the top five.
Gusciora had a birdie on the par-4 17th and had a strong finish with a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine.
"My front nine wasn't the best, but my back nine I played great," she said. "I didn't think an 82 would win, but I'm very happy. I didn't have any big mess-up shots. My approach shots and my putting was really on today."
Gusciora was one of three Rockets -- along with Gisele Shahzada and her sister Natalia Gusciora -- to earn All-FVC honors, which is awarded to the top-18 golfers by combining regular-season duals and conference tournament finishes.
Maya Gusciora said she had to push Natalia, her younger sister, to join the team.
"She plays at No. 2, so I played with her every week," Maya Gusciora said of Natalia, a freshman. "It was very fun. I had to drag her into this, but she had fun with it. I think she did, at least, so I hope she comes back next year."
Tucker was runner-up after taking fourth last season and could have had a better day, if not for an unlucky start when she mistakenly hit the wrong ball on the second hole. Tucker didn't realize she hit the wrong ball until she went to mark it. She then let her group and coach know and took a two-shot penalty.
"That was a little rough, but I kept my head high and I just kept going," Tucker said. "With everything that went on today, just being able to come out here and still shoot in the 80s, especially from where I started, I would say that's still a very good day."
Donovan also had a less-than-ideal start when, on the second hole, she found her ball in an unfavorable spot: on top of a tree stump. Donovan ended up taking a 10 on that hole, but rallied to finish in the top 5.
"I was either going to play an unplayable ball or hit it, so I hit it," Donovan said. "I tried to hit it, I hit the stump, the ball bounced backwards, I punched it out, got it into the back of the sand trap, went into the water, got it back on the green and one-putted. But I'm not going to take it too hard because I know it's only one round and I have the rest of my life to play golf."
Crystal Lake Central co-op was third with a 389, followed by Burlington Central (397), McHenry (410), Jacobs (439), Dundee-Crown (440) and Hampshire (443).