Charleston girls golf coach Todd Keating says his team is thrilled by the news this week that the IHSA extended the postseason to now include sectionals.
That additional postseason event is good news for the team, but, perhaps, even more so for senior Hannah Harpster, who seeks to reach the state tournament for the first time since her freshman year.
After struggling to overcome an injury that sidetracked her the past two seasons, Harpster continues to improve as evidenced by her 2-over par 38 on the University of Illinois Blue course on Tuesday evening.
It was perfunctory exercise for the Trojans girls golf team since Charleston Centennial featured only a single player, Camryn McClard, who shot 60.
The Trojans, meanwhile, were led by Harpster, Madeline Sanders (47), Stacey Zerbst (49) and Taryn Pearson (50) who helped the team improve to 15-1 in dual matches.
Keating will now be able to see how his team measures up against the state’s best in a sectional event next month at a location that has not yet been named, assuming the team advances from the IHSA Regional it hosts at Charleston Country Club on Oct. 7 – which seems more than likely.
There seems little doubt about Harpster’s chances of advancing into sectionals, and beyond if a state tournament were eventually permitted.
“On an individual basis,” Keating said, “I’m sure no one has more invested in the sectional than Hannah.”
Harpster has averaged 41.3 strokes per nine holes for the second part of this season, about the lowest of her high school career. The 38 on Tuesday is her season best.
“She (Hannah) was forced to withdraw from the sectional last year,” Keating said, “so this is going to feel like a well-deserved opportunity to see how she stacks up against some of the best golfers in the state.”
The Trojans play in a quad meet Thursday against Decatur Eisenhower, Mt. Zion and Paris at Eagle Ridge Golf Course and then compete in the Apollo Conference tournament on Monday.
Regionals start the following week.
“I was surprised that we are having a sectional tournament, but I am very happy about it,” Keating said. “Of all the sports, golf is one of the easiest in which to take whatever precautions are necessary.”