Girls golf: St. Viator, Carlson win titles at Marian regional
Marian Central's Ava Notaro got to enjoy extra time on the golf course with her younger sister, Ella, after the Hurricanes qualified for sectionals last year.
Ava, a senior, and Ella, a sophomore, once again will get that chance.
But this year, they'll have one more familiar companion -- their freshman sister Nina -- along for the ride.
That's because all three Notaros placed in the top-six at Thursday's Class 1A Marian Central Regional at Boone Creek to help lead the Hurricanes into Monday's Aurora Central Catholic Sectional at Phillips Golf Course in Aurora.
St. Viator won the team title with a 338, followed by Marian (357) in second and Johnsburg (403) in third. All three teams will compete at next week's sectional.
St. Viator freshman Maggie Carlson took home medalist honors with a 3-over-par 74, and Harvard senior Julia Chupich placed runner-up with an 82.
Ava Notaro was third with an 83, Nina Notaro was fifth with an 85 and Ella Notaro tied for sixth with an 86. Jordyn Kratochvil (103) rounded out the scoring to help lead the Hurricanes past regionals for the second straight season.
"It was really fun. I'm just happy that I beat my sister [Ella] today," Nina Notaro said after posting a career-best round, which included one birdie. "I think I did really good on my drives today, and my putting wasn't too bad. It feels amazing right now."
Ava Notaro, whose 83 tied her best round of the season, said having her two younger sisters on the team has been a good experience for all three. Ella Notaro shot the lowest score between her and Ava last year at regionals.
"Everyone wonders what it's like, and I like it," Ava Notaro said. "Ella and I are always partners in our [dual] matches, and it's just really nice to have that. It makes it a lot more competitive and I think it works out for all of us."
All four of St. Viator's counting scores placed inside the top 10 in the 19-shot victory over Marian. Carlson was first with a 74, Claire Van Bergen (84) was fourth, Maris Welgat (88) was eighth, and Lily Zicarelli (92) was 10th.
St. Viator took photos with the regional plaque on the putting green a year after the Lions were unable to compete in the postseason because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.
"After last year, I love that I get the opportunity to compete at regionals," said Van Bergen, a senior. "Last year when our season was brought to a close really abruptly, it was really sad. We felt like could go so far. I was struggling last week, getting nervous, but I just came in today so happy and calm."
Carlson won by eight shots over Chupich and made two birdies. The Lions freshman won medalist honors at last week's East Suburban Catholic Conference Tournament with a 70, and St. Viator won the team title there, as well.
"The beginning was a little tough today," Carlson said. "The front nine was a little harder than the back nine, and it really made you hit some shots that you weren't really comfortable with, especially the tee shots.
"It really helped seeing my team on the 18th, standing there and cheering me on. It really meant a lot."
St. Viator coach Mick Drewes said Carlson is a tireless worker.
"Her sister was a state qualifier about five years ago, and her brother was a great player," Drewes said. "Just a golf family, and she picked it up early. She works very hard. You shoot those scores, and it doesn't come easy. She's very determined. She's still got a lot to learn, but she's got a chance to be the best ever [at St. Viator]."
Chupich will make her first sectionals appearance after a 22-shot improvement over last year's regional finish. The Hornets senior has enjoyed a record-breaking season so far, as she now owns the program's record for lowest 18-hole (76) and 9-hole (35) scores.
"My chipping wasn't the best today but I did really well on my putting, which is a shocker, because that's usually what I struggle with most," Chupich said. "I like this course. I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's pretty open, and there's not much trouble to get into."
Chupich said she focused more on golf since the end of last year and wants to play in college. She took lessons over the summer with Jim Buenzli at the Golf Academy at Terra Cotta Academy in Crystal Lake.
Chupich also plays basketball and runs on the track and field team.
"I really just wanted to improve my game, really show college coaches and get noticed," Chupich said. "I want to excel at each and every sport that I compete in. I hope everything comes together next week [at sectionals]."
Johnsburg will makes its eighth straight sectionals appearance after taking the final qualifying spot by three shots over Regina Dominican. Riley Klotz led the Skyhawks with an 86, followed by Lana Bowers (98), Amber Smith (101) and Chloe Benz (118).
Klotz's 86 was a personal-best score and the first time the Skyhawks junior has gone below 90. Johnsburg won a regional championship last year but lost many of its top players to graduation.
Klotz knew the Skyhawks and Regina Dominican were battling for the third spot as the final groups came in, but didn't know how close it was until the very end.
"I could see that the other team finished, but I can't do that math in my head," Klotz said. "I didn't realize it was going to be so close. I just feel really proud that we can carry on the legacy of past teams, since so many of our seniors graduated.
"It's a whole new team, so it's exciting that we could do it again."
Richmond-Burton's Sierra Simecek (99) and Makenna Donohoe (104) also advanced to next week's sectionals, along with St. Edward's Ivy Burnett (90) and Elgin Academy's Cathryn Wascher (99).