Girls golf: Barrington savors 1st state title; Janess repeats as champ
After leaving the Hickory Point Golf Course with the second-place trophy for four straight years, Barrington's girls golf team earned the hardware it really wanted this time.
The Mid-Suburban League champions left Decatur on Saturday with the Class 2A state championship, the first in program history, and they did it with a state-tourney record-low score of 595 over runner-up Stevenson (610) and Loyola (612).
They also departed the state tourney course with the individual champion as senior Mara Janess (71-70-141) won her second straight title (there was no tourney in 2020 due to COVID-19) by 3 strokes over her classmate Sophia Sulkar (74-71-145) and Yorkville's Mia Nativad (70-75-145).
"It's amazing," said Janess, a Michigan recruit who went birdie, birdie, eagle on holes No. 9, 10 and 11 to spark her 2-under-par 70 second round. "It just proves that all the hard work pays off. But just being surrounded by great teammates, great coaches definitely helps. It's been quite the ride at Barrington and this is definitely a great way to end it."
When Stevenson edged Barrington 601-600 for the 2019 crown, those were the previous lowest scores at a girls state tourney.
"We had really set ourselves a goal at the beginning of the season," Janess added. "We all knew we had the capability to do this as a team. All six worked their butts off. I completely believe we all deserved this. If we were going to do it, this was the team."
Fillies sophomore Leah Gaidos (78-77-155) and junior Simran Singh (77-78-155) tied for 28th.
"We're thrilled," said third -year coach Tim Martin. "It kind of caps off all our hard work for so long. Holding that trophy I had to think of Jodi Schoeck (retired hall of fame Barrington coach) who's been texting me all weekend. Our success is built on her foundation building this program for all of her 31 years. And for us to do it today, with Mara winning the championship and Sophia taking second, with the team getting its lowest score in the history of the event, it kind of culminates all the work that Jodi and all the great players have put into it. It feels great."
And the Fillies did it with four new players who had never played at state (Gaidos, Singh, Bridget Butler and Sydney Terada).
"We always lost to great teams, and four different ones," Martin said. "This team was just determined to win the trophy. They never looked at the four seconds as any kind of negative. It's so hard just to get that second-place trophy for all those teams, and now we had four players who had never played at state. They told me they were going to break this streak of second-place finishes, and they did."
And they were led by a two-time state champ.
"Mara was in complete command for the entire tournament," Martin said. "Her No. 1 goal was to help the Fillies get their first state title and of course she also had an eye on repeating as the individual state champion. And today she was locked in. She knew what she had to do. She was in the last group out and we liked that because it showed us what she had to do to win. After her birdie, birdie, and eagle run, she took control of the tournament. And she handled it with such class and talent. Mara played a flawless tournament."
Martin said the championship was for the Barrington community, the parents and all the great players in the past, such as Caroline Smith, who helped lead the charge of all four second-place finishes.
"Mara and Sophia, our two seniors, led this year's team," Martin added. "They kind of showed the new players what it took to win and they talked on the course."
For the Fillies to win, they had to bounce back from a charging Stevenson team that rallied from Friday's 6-stroke deficit to tie Barrington early on Saturday.
"Stevenson made all the strokes up," Martin said. "I think our girls saw that and they were really determined they were not going to finish second again. They flipped the switch and went on a great run against a great Stevenson team.
"Stevenson played really well. Their coach, Emma Deegan, does a great job. They tied us and then our girls showed real resilience and grit. Leah was so scrappy and Simran played the best golf of her life. She was the glue that held us together this weekend. And our two sophomores (Butler and Terada) had amazing seasons."
Deegan's top scorer was junior Allie Santos (75-73-148), who tied for seventh. Freshman Allysan Duan tied for 17th (72-79-151). Patriots sophomore Chelsea She (77-79-156 ) and senior Emily Duan (79-77) tied for 31st with scores of 156.
"Being down 6 strokes is a tough hill to climb, especially with a bunch of girls who have never experienced the state tournament," Deegan said. "We tried our hardest and it just wasn't good enough to beat today's Barrington team. For them to finally get a championship, good for them. They played really well and it just wasn't our time.
"These girls worked really hard. I give them a lot of credit for grinding it out as long as we did. We fought back on the front nine (Saturday) and kind of struggled on a few holes on that back nine and that was our demise.
"Other than that, you can't complain about finishing second in this state with the caliber of golf being played right now. I'm super proud of them. I'm happy and blessed to be their coach."
Other individual top performances were Vernon Hills' Lexi Schulman tying for 14th (78-72-150), Fremd's Sarah Sim (80-79-159) and Conant's Zadie Zorrilla (82-77-159) tying for 38th, Stevenson's Megan Lee (78-84-162), tying for 50th and Prospect's Kate Riesing (tying for 79th).