Throughout the Class 3A state meet, the Lake Forest boys golf team kept hearing other teams taunt its unique entry to the two-day meet.
But the Scouts managed to take full advantage of their unique second chance.
Lake Forest ended Hinsdale Central’s seven-year title reign, carding a 25-over 610 on Saturday at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington to win its first state championship since 2011.
“We kept hearing from other teams that we shouldn’t have been at state,” Lake Forest sophomore Jack Marshall said. “They were chirping at us. But that really fueled us.”
Five days before the start of the state meet, Lake Forest coach Jim Matheson gathered his players for a heated motivational speech at the conclusion of the DeKalb Sectional.
Matheson informed his disappointed players, who thought they had missed the three-team cut for the state meet, that they were in after Stevenson reported a scoring error.
Marshall said that meeting fueled the Scouts’ run to the program’s fifth state championship.
“Coach was saying you don’t get second chances like this,” Marshall said. “We had to take this and run with it. It motivated us.”
Matheson said it was a collective effort by the Scouts to beat Glenbrook North by eight strokes for the state title. Patrick Moorhead shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday and finished with a two-day total of 141 to earn second place, one stroke behind Lockport’s Ben Sluzas, a two-time state champion. Marshall finished tied for 20th place after carding a 35 on the back nine for a 76 on Saturday.
Mundelein senior Colin Wade finished 20th.
“We went out there and knew what they had to do to help us win state,” Matheson said.
Stevenson girls win first state title: Stevenson sophomore Emily Duan credited some extra putting for her third-place showing at the Class 2A state meet at Hickory Point Golf Club near Decatur.
But Duan picked an odd place for the practice that led to a two-day total of 148 — one shot from earning a playoff with Barrington’s Mara Janess and Glenbrook South’s Maria Perakis for the individual title.
“I brought my putter to my hotel room and kept putting the ball into a coffee cup,” she said. “I’ve never done (that). I was putting really bad the week before, so I had to improve. I would up with about 30 putts. I probably had 10 birdies for both days.”
Duan’s strong performance helped lift the Patriots to the program’s first state championship. The Patriots, a team without a senior among their top four, shot a 601 to win a heated battle with Barrington (602).
Freshman Allie Santos placed fifth with a 149 for the Patriots.
“It was a true testament to how hard they have worked,” Stevenson coach Emma Degen said. “We knew it would come down to us and Barrington.”
Vernon Hills freshman sensation Lexi Schulman nearly walked away with the state title after leading the field on the first day with a 73. She accomplished her goal of a top-five finish by shooting a fifth-place score of 149.
“I’m happy where I finished,” Schulman said. “I was in contention for the title. I still have three more years.”
Carmel boys take fourth: Carmel nearly added another team state title for Lake County.
After shooting a 300 on Friday to sit in second place in Class 2A, the Corsairs carded a 320 to place fourth with a 620 total at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.
Junior Clint Bailes capped a strong postseason by shooting a 6-over 77 on Saturday for a two-day tally of 6-over 148 to finish in a tie for ninth place.
Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.