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Druley: Sectionals figure to pick up the pace for golfers

St. Charles North senior Jessica Grill admitted to being “all golfed out” when teammates dispersed to watch Alexandra Harkins and Larisa Luloff of the Crystal Lake Central girls co-op compete in a medalist playoff Wednesday afternoon.

In the next breath, Grill assured the affliction was only temporary, the product of a six-hour round at the Class AA Prairie Ridge Regional.

That’s the spirit.

This week’s regionals just marked the beginning of what boys and girls golfers hope is a fruitful state series. Here’s a glance at a few tidbits from around the Kane County Chronicle area as Monday’s sectionals near:

• With respect to the six-hour rounds, North freshman standout Kate Lillie found the key was keeping an even keel.

“Not to get ahead of myself and just to make sure that I did not mimick the pattern of slower players,” Lillie said.

Given the natural streamlining process of cutting from regionals to sectionals, athletes and coaches figure the pace of play will improve Monday at the AA Rockford Guilford Sectional at Ingersoll Golf Course.

“The girls had to be patient and really kind of grind for that whole round [Wednesday],” North Stars coach Chris Patrick said.

• The St. Charles East girls advanced four individuals to Ingersoll after finishing fourth in the team race. That was two slots behind the North Stars and one behind the top-three cutoff.

“It was basically the whole team, so it won’t be that much different,” said Saints senior Darby Crane, who was part of East’s team regional championship as a freshman in 2010.

The roles have reversed these days, as Saints freshmen Reagan Stanton and Kacie Gaffney join sophomore Mary Ellen Combs in accompanying Crane to Ingersoll.

Crane and classmate Caroline Kulig, the Saints’ lone seniors, considered themselves big sisters to the group.

• Returning to the scene of the Upstate Eight Conference River Division tournament held less than one week earlier, boys golfers from East, North, Batavia and Geneva hailed their league once more Tuesday.

That was easy to do considering the regional host Saints won the team title at St. Andrews in West Chicago, with fellow sectional qualifiers Geneva and North in close pursuit. Three Batavia athletes qualified as individuals for the 3A Naperville Central Sectional, as well.

“I think it shows that we’re a solid golf area,” said Saints senior Luke Molloy, the medalist with a 76. “Most people are good enough to break 80 almost every time, although it didn’t happen [Tuesday]. I think the area has just got some good golf, good programs.”

“I think we can make a mark,” added Bulldogs senior Jacob Piechota, “and hopefully some of our Upstate Eight teams can make it to state and maybe all three of our individuals can make it to state if we play really good.”

• Burlington Central’s recent mound of medals is getting pretty high. In the past two weeks, senior standouts Jenna Kurosky and Matt Weber have been the top individuals at the Big Northern Conference meet and their respective regionals.

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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