NORMAL – Mired in a duel with Rockford Boylan's Danny Gorman for the individual title at the Class 2A boys golf state meet, Burlington Central senior Matt Weber admitted to blinking Saturday.
Heck, Weber was downright pensive as the biggest moments of his prep career kept refreshing themselves down the stretch at Weibring Golf Club.
"A lot of people influenced my life at Burlington and it was a great time," Weber said. "I really wanted to embrace that on the last hole and really not dwell on whether I would win or not."
Weber ultimately fell a stroke short of Gorman, shooting a two-day 143 to finish 1-over par as the state runner-up.
With Day 1 leader David Perkins of East Peoria struggling – bogeys on Nos. 7-9 effectively ended his day – Weber and Gorman, playing in the same group, soon knew they were vying for No. 1.
Weber drew to within a stroke on No. 17 by parring a par-3, but had the chance to tie when he hit his tee shot within about eight feet of the pin. The putt lipped out, and both players bogeyed the final hole.
His 72 helped the Rockets keep pace in their pursuit of the team title. Austin Niesel (81), Andrew Sherman (84) and Jacob Ledebuhr (86) rounded out the scoring for BC, which placed fourth as a team, 15 strokes behind champion Rockford Boylan.
"They're going to have a pretty decent team next year," Weber said. "They're going to have three seniors and some youth, so that's really huge."
Speaking of experience, St. Charles North senior Raghav Cherala closed a decorated four-year career with a two-day 163 at the 3A meet held at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in adjacent Bloomington.
Cherala, who tied for 64th among 112 individuals, absorbed an 8 on the par 3 17th. It was Cherla's eighth hole of the day and easily his biggest roadblock, but North Stars coach Rob Prentiss beamed at the way Cherala persevered.
"I'm tremendously proud of Raghav no matter what he shot this weekend," Prentiss said. "He is just a wonderful young man. He had a brutal break on his eighth hole and kept going on. No outward outburst of anger or anything. Just took it like a man and went on to the ninth tee. Just real proud of how he handled himself."
St. Francis finished eighth among 12 teams in 2A, led by Jonathan Nocek (two-day 162), Dan Mochel (164), Connor Buckley (168) and John Stolte (169).
Kaneland senior Matt Yonkovich stormed onto the individual leaderboard with a 1-over 72 on Saturday, putting him at 8-over for the tournament and tied for fifth with Troy Triad's Austin Buente. Yonkovich closed his prep career with two birdies and 14 pars.
"Today was the more typical day for him than [Friday] was," Knights coach Mark Meyer said. "He struck the ball better today than he did before and he continued putting very well."
A pair of Chronicle-area girls teams were part of the fields at the Class A and AA meets a little deeper downstate in the Decatur region.
North finished ninth among 12 teams with a two-day 667 at the Class AA meet at Hickory Point Golf Club. Prospect won the tournament with a 612.
"We didn't play that badly, and five, 10 years ago, what we shot today would have been good enough for third, fourth place," North Stars coach Chris Patrick said.
In the program's first team state appearance since 2005, freshman Kate Lillie closed with a 76 to lead the way. Lillie edged Carly Hudon (81 Saturday) by four strokes for the top overall score. Gianna Furrie (84) and Jessica Grill (91) rounded out North's scoring on Day 2.
"Carly was consistent, Kate had a great round today and Gianna, obviously wanted to play better and she's capable of doing better," Patrick said. "But it was tough conditions. It was windy. It was a tough course in certain spots. But i'm proud of these girls. They accomplished a lot this year."
Rosary coach Joe Hughes has trumpeted a similar refrain about the Royals, who made their team state debut in the Class A meet at Red Tail Run Golf Course. Rosary finished 10th behind senior Victoria Phipps, whose 85 Saturday gave her a two-day 166. Jenna Streich (193), Annika Strolle (202) and Morgan Martinez (207) followed.
Phipps tied for 22nd individually.
In 1A boys play at Bloomington's Prairie Vista Golf Course, Aurora Christian Brett Seward tied for 41st overall with a two-day 165.