Both the Charleston and Mattoon girl’s golf team will look to continue their seasons as their respective golf regionals.
Charleston will play at the Charleston Country Club, hosting the Class 1A Regional with Bethany (Okaw Valley), Casey-Westfield, Decatur St. Teresa, Macon-Meridian, Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, Central A&M, Mt. Zion, Oakland, Paris, Shelbyville, Sullivan, Tuscola, and Villa Grove.
As for Mattoon, the team will travel to Decatur to play at Red Tail Run Golf Course in the Class 2A Regional with Bloomington, Champaign Centennial, Champaign Central, Chatham-Glenwood, Mattoon, Normal West, Normal Community, Quincy, Springfield, and Urbana.
Charleston Class 1A Regional
The Trojans figure to be the lead contender to win the IHSA Regional. The team won their first Apollo Conference in five years this past week and appear to be peaking at the right time.
Taryn Pearson tied teammate Hannah Harpster for a score of 88, while Stacey Zerbst finished sixth overall with a score of 92 at Lake of the Woods Golf Course. All three finished All-Apollo as the top eight earned that award. However, Rileigh Babbs (11th) and Tesa Brown (12th) were right in the mix.
Tuscola will be a contender behind sophomore Makenna Fiscus. Fiscus is coming off a medalist performance at the Central Illinois Conference tournament, winning by eight strokes. As a team, Tuscola won the conference over Shelbyville with all five golfers finishing in the top 10.
Sullivan’s Alyssa Shriver will figure to lead the individual qualifiers if the team does not make it out. Shriver finished second overall, while Shelbyville’s Emma Houska and Sophie Trainor finished third and fourth respectively.
Monticello’s Ashley Long is another individual to watch after setting a school record (33 strokes) during a nine-hole match against Mahomet-Seymour.
Last year, Harpster was the medalist at the Okaw Valley Regional, while Charleston won the overall championship. If Charleston can win again, it would be the eighth straight regional championship for the Trojans.
Decatur Class 2A Regional
Mattoon’s Callan Haldorsen is hoping to ride a hot streak into the postseason. At the Apollo, Haldorsen bested all Charleston golfers to finish third overall, finishing one stroke away from a tie for second. As a team, Mattoon placed fourth.
“They did great in tough conditions,” said Mattoon coach Natalie Ambuehl after the conference match. “I am proud of their efforts and their grit.”
Advancing as a team might be difficult for the Lady Wave as the regional will feature a heavy dose of Big 12 and Central State 8 competition.
Normal Community is coming off a second place finish at the Big 12 Conference tournament. It was the first time in six years that Normal Community did not win, falling to Peoria Notre Dame. Alyvia Burr finished second overall to pace the team, while Katie Burr (6th) and Natalie Bruce (10th) finished in the top-10 as well.
Peoria Richwoods placed third and Champaign Central placed fourth. Cassie To, Kathryn Currey, and Mira Chopra lead the Lady Maroons. Chopra was an addition after playing volleyball the last three fall seasons and has tied with To on occasions during matches.
Central coach Carol Zuhone sees her team as a borderline option to advance to sectionals as a team.
“We may have a few players who will go,” said Zuhone. “We are 8-2 in the stretch and I think we have a good chance of going to sectionals.”
As for the CS8, Chatham-Glenwood placed second, finishing one stroke ahead of third-place Rochester, and 30 strokes behind team champion Normal University. Sophomore Elissa Warren paced the team with a score of 83, while senior teammates Amy Fowler (84) and Preslee Allen (85) were right behind.
“Glenwood has put in a lot of work this season and there’s a chance to advance to sectionals because of that,” said C-G coach Beth Tanner. “Glenwood posted strong scores throughout the season. I’m confident they’ll give regionals their all and make Glenwood proud.”
Despite the strong finish, others see the Titans as a contender and not the favorite at the regional. Springfield coach David Adkins sees Western Big 6 Conference member Quincy as the favorite.
While Springfield finished fifth out of five teams at the CS8, he is not counting out his team to move onto sectionals, and potentially win the whole regional itself.
“I think Quincy is probably the favorite, but both us and Glenwood have good teams that could contend,” said Adkins. “We finished fifth out of five teams, but we were only six shots out of second. The conference we play has a lot of great teams. Our conference tournament was our worst result of the year, but still had three pretty good scores. I like our chances to contended but I know the tournament will be hotly contested.”