If everything went absolutely perfect, going into Tuesday’s South Central Conference Tournament at Indian Springs there was an outside shot that the Hillsboro boys golf team could extend their conference title streak to five.
Unfortunately for the Hiltoppers, one team was near perfect and it wasn’t the one they were hoping for.
Vandalia put five players in the top ten of the tournament and took first place with a 297 on the par-71 18-hole course at Indian Springs near Coffeen. The Vandals round was the second lowest since the boys moved their tournament to the Montgomery County course, with last year’s Hillsboro squad holding that record with a 291.
Still, Hillsboro showed they aren’t a club to be trifled with, as they finished a solid second despite losing all six starters from last year’s team.
Dom Haggard would lead the way for Hillsboro, one of two non-Vandals in the top five. Haggard’s 9-over-par 80 was the fifth best round of the day, with Litchfield’s Tug Schwab two strokes ahead of him in fourth.
Vandalia players took the top three individual spots, with Chase Laack earning medalist honors with a 71, after finishing third and second each of the last two years. Laack was followed by teammates Conner McCall (72) and Jacob Schaal (73), while Dylan Halford was sixth with an 81 and Riley Ruckman was 10th with an 84.
Just how good were the Vandals as a whole on Tuesday? If you would have used Ruckman and sixth man Jonah Beesley (86) instead of Laack and McCall, they would have still won by 15 strokes. Their dominance takes nothing away from Hillsboro’s performance though as Preston Lyerla gave the Toppers two players on the all-conference team, the only school other than Vandalia to have more than one. Lyerla would shoot an 11-over 82 to tie Roxana’s Christian Floyd for eighth overall.
The remaining Toppers weren’t far behind, with five of the six players breaking 90. Drake Vogel added in an 88, while Tad Daniels (the only senior in this year’s top six) shot an 89. Dillon Smail would also finish with an 89, while Devin Speiser was close behind with a 93.
With just Daniels and Shaw Riggs graduating this year, the Toppers could be in the hunt for a title next year, but they won’t be the only ones returning experienced golfers in 2021. Litchfield will bring back most of their top six, while Vandalia loses just one player, Ruckman, to graduation. That’s a year away though and Hillsboro has more pressing matters to worry about. Today, Oct. 1, they will face Carlinville and Carrollton at the Carlinville Country Club, followed by a trip to Taylorville’s Lakeshore Golf Course for the Tornadoes’ invitational on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Sept. 29 at Fillmore
South Central Conference Boys Golf Tournament
Indian Springs - Par 71
Boys Team Results: 1. Vandalia 297, 2. Hillsboro 339, 3. Litchfield 346, 4. Carlinville 354, 5. Roxana 371, 6. Staunton 373, 7. Greenville 386, 8. Pana 411, 9. Southwestern 458.
All-Conference: 1. Chase Laack (Vandalia) 71; 2. Conner McCall (Vandalia) 72; 3. Jacob Schaal (Vandalia) 73; 4. Tug Schwab (Litchfield) 78; 5. Dom Haggard (Hillsboro) 80; 6. Henry Kufa (Carlinville 81; 6. Dylan Halford (Vandalia) 81; 8. Christian Floyd (Roxana) 82; 8. Preston Lyerla (Hillsboro) 82; 10. Riley Ruckman (Vandalia) 84.
Vandalia (297) - Chase Laack 71, Conner McCall 72, Jacob Schaal 73, Dylan Halford 81, Riley Ruckman 84, Jonah Beesley 86.
Hillsboro (339) - Dom Haggard 80, Preston Lyerla 82, Drake Vogel 88, Tad Daniels 89, Dillon Smail 89, Devin Speiser 93.
Litchfield (346) - Tug Schwab 78, Zach Boston 85, Ian Otto 90, Keagan Marten 93, A.J. Odle 97, Allen Schneider 99.
Carlinville (354) - Henry Kufa 81, Ethen Siglock 86, Jack Stayton 93, Mason Duckles 94, Sam Quarton 94, Matt Reiher 101.
Roxana (371) - Chritian Floyd 82, Zack Stangler 93, Jackson Harris 94, Cade Slayden 102, Logan Wonders 108, Jaden DiPaolo 116.
Staunton (373) - Broc Best 85, Blake Moore 93, Luke Dewitt 96, Preston Denney 99, Caden Shearlock 99, Sam Best 100.
Greenville (386) - Christian Bauer 87, Ryan Heath 91, Leno Calderiaro 94, Dakota Lloyd 114, Dustin Rehkemper 120.
Pana (411) - Austin Karbach 92, Ryan Karbach 102, Brant Bowker 106, Griffin Kimbrel 111, Jaxon Rhoades 112, Cole Noll 116.
Southwestern (458) - Roland Thyer 97, Jordan Cottingham 120, Kaydn Hines 120, Chase Cummings 121.