Brett Poorman believes that the Green Wave can win the Charleston Class 2A Regional. 

The rest of the regional agrees. 

Will the Green Wave show up? The team was favored to win the Apollo only to see their lead disappear on the final three holes. With that humbling experience and last Friday’s response, Poorman likes how his team is heading into today’s match at Charleston Country Club. 

“We have a great chance to win our regional,” said Poorman. “We are starting to play with a little more consistency, but the middle of our season was a struggle. We shot 311 last Friday at the invite, and I think if we can repeat that Wednesday, we should win.”

Poorman said that the goal is to have four players shoot in the 70s. Stewart Druin, Evan Diedrich, and Blaine Powers finished All-Apollo last week. Madden Johnson was last year’s Apollo individual champion, Druin lost in a playoff to win a second conference title this year while Will Pullen has shot in the 70s as well.

“We feel that this will put us in a really good position at every tournament,” said Poorman. “Our top five golfers have all placed top 10 in multiple tournaments.”

When it comes to the individual champion, Mount Zion’s head coach Colby Burdick believes that Wave senior Stewart Druin could win. 

“Stewart Druin will likely shoot around even par with other players on the team being capable of being in the 70s,” said Burdick.

Burdick sees the Braves as a team that could contend for the top-3 spots to move onto the Sectional. With that said, he is hopeful that his team can contend for the team championship. Weston Grohne and Riley Taylor are All-Apollo golfers and will lead the team. 

“The goal in our program is always to win the Regional, and if not, be one of the three advancing teams at a minimum,” said Burdick. “My team left a lot of shots out there at the Charleston Invitational so they are motivated to get back over there and play better.”

Eight teams will be participating in the regional with Arcola, Charleston, Effingham, Lawrenceville, Olney, and Paris joining the field as well. When it comes to the top, Arcola head coach Greg Gisinger believes Mattoon is at the top for now but believes that it’s more wide open than people think. 

“I believe Mattoon is the favorite to win the regional but there are a lot of really good teams that are capable of winning it,” said Gisinger. “Olney, Charleston, and Mt. Zion are all right there with them and then we and Effingham are capable in case those teams don’t play their best. Our goal is to advance as a team, but that will be a tall task.  We feel like we have a good chance to get multiple players out of regionals and into sectionals but with golf, you never know.”

Arcola was led by Braden Kauffman, who was the Lincoln Prairie Conference medalist. He followed that up by staying hot with a sixth-place finish at the Stan Adkins Invitational. Aaron Seegmiller, Clay Seal and Canton Wesche were All-LPC. 

Olney will be led by Alex Nealis, who has earned top-10 honors in every tournament. He was the Little Illini Conference champion and owns a season average of 74. Ayden Nealis, a freshman, has been consistently in the 70s, while another freshman, Reese Glover, has shot in the low 80s. 

“I don’t think there is a clear-cut favorite,” said Olney coach Curtis Nealis. “There are four to five teams that have a legitimate shot to win it. We may not be as deep as some of the teams, but if we play well we have as good a chance as anyone. Our goal is to stick to our process of attacking a golf course and letting the score take care of itself. Our motto is to “Focus on the process, not the outcome. Alex Harness, Tristan Mitchell, and Aaron Klingler round out the top 6. Each can post a score in the mid-80s for us.”

Charleston’s Hudson Meister and Alex Kuykendall were All-Apollo and will be in the mix for a team spot as well.