The boys golf regional at The Rail in Springfield may not have been the strongest in terms of schools with state title aspirations, but it was definitely the most competitive one in the state on Monday, Oct. 7.
Just 15 strokes separated the top eight teams at the tournament, with the second through eighth place teams separated by only eight strokes. The closeness of the scores led to some nail-biting moments for many teams, including the Lincolnwood Lancers, vying for one of the top three spots and a trip to sectionals.
Of the Lancers' five losses this season, three came against teams that would be with them in Williamsville. Auburn, who won the regional on Monday with a 360, were 2-2 against Lincolnwood this season, while South County knocked off the Lancers by a stroke on senior night on Oct. 3.
The Lancers returned the favor on Monday though, shooting a 368 to grab the third and final qualifying spot, just one stroke ahead of South County's 369.
Looking at the team standings would be enough to give anyone anxiety, even if they didn't have a dog in the hunt so to speak. Jacksonville Routt shot a 367 to beat the Lancers by one, setting off a stair-step down the standings from second to seventh place.
After the Vipers in fourth came North Mac with a 370, Carlinville with a 371 and Pleasant Plains with a 372. Williamsville ended the trend, but were still just eight away from Routt with a 375.
One of the Lancers last scores to enter the clubhouse happened to be their best as Sam Herman shot a 10-over-par 82 to solidify Lincolnwood's place in the top three.
Herman would shoot a 43 on the front nine, then backed it up with a 3-over-par 39 on the back half of the course to take third overall individually. Only Dain Richie of South County (72) and Jadon Wheeler of Jacksonville Westfair Christian Academy (78) would shoot better than the Lincolnwood senior.
This will be Herman's third straight trip to the sectional tournament. His only miss came in his freshman year, when he shot a 106 in regionals to finish 35th overall, ten strokes off the final individual qualifying spot.
That was also the last time the Lancers missed the sectionals as a team, finishing fourth at the Trenton Wesclin Regional in 2016. Since then, they've finished third in 2017 and second in 2018, but haven't been able to make it to state as a team, coming as close as 22 strokes last year with a seventh place finish in sectionals.
But even if the Lancers don't make it out of sectionals this year, the fact that they will be making the trip to Rolling Greens Golf Course in Mt. Sterling on Monday, Oct. 14, is a testament to their ability to overcome adversity.
In addition to the tough competition at the tournament, Lincolnwood was also without the services of one of their top players, Michael Jones, who has been out due to illness.
The other five Lancers, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman, helped ensure that Herman would get another shot at making it to the state tournament in his senior year.
Nate Brockmeyer would earn a top ten finish in his first regional experience as he shot an 88 to finish in a tie for eighth place. The Lincolnwood freshman shot a 46 on the front nine and a 42 on the back nine to give Lincolnwood two rounds under 90, one of just three teams to do so.
Morrisonville junior Braxton Schmedeke, who plays via the co-op between the two schools, added in a 97 with rounds of 48 and 49, while fellow junior Devin Brown finished off the scoring with a 101, shooting 51 on the front and 50 on the back.
Sophomores Will Jenkins and Michael Graham also played on Monday in Springfield, shooting a 111 and a 115 respectively. Graham would shoot a 58 on the front nine and a 57 on the back, while Jenkins shot a 50 on the front and a 61 on the back.
The Lancers will now join the top three teams and advancing individuals from the four regionals feeding into the Mt. Sterling Sectional. Those groups include players from the Kewanee Wethersfield Regional, the Glasford Illini Bluffs Regional and the Camp Point Central Regional.
The top three teams and top ten players not on an advancing team will move on to the IHSA Class 1A State Finals, which will be held at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington on Oct. 18 and 19.
October 7 at Springfield
1A Williamsville Regional
The Rail - Par 72
Boys Team Results: 1. Auburn 360, 2. Jacksonville Routt 367, 3. Lincolnwood 368, 4. South County 369, 5. North Mac 370, 6. Carlinville 371, 7. Pleasant Plains 372, 8. Williamsville 375, 9. PORTA 405, 10. Greenview 423, 11. Mt. Pulaski 426, 12. Carrollton 437.
Auburn (360) - Luke Boesdorfer 85, Logan Kavish 91, Tyler Smith 92, Reece Conway 92, Charlie Jessup 94, Klayton Komnick 97.
Jacksonville Routt (367) - Isaac Anderson 88, Daxton Baptist 88, Eli Andrew 89, Sam Nix 102, Joe Varela 112.
Lincolnwood (368) - Sam Herman 82, Nate Brockmeyer 88, Braxton Schmedeke 97, Devin Brown 101, Will Jenkins 111, Michael Graham 115.
Individual Top Ten: 1. Dain Richie (South County) 72; 2. Jadon Wheeler (Jacksonville Westfair Christian Academy) 78; 3. Sam Herman (Lincolnwood) 82; 3. Kyle Abraham (Pleasant Plains) 82; 5. Ethen Siglock (Carlinville) 84; 5. Henry Kufa (Carlinville) 84; 7. Luke Boesdorfer (Auburn) 85; 8. Nate Brockmeyer (Lincolnwood) 88; 8. Isaac Anderson (Routt) 88; 8. Daxton Baptist (Routt) 88; 8. Ryley Marko (North Mac) 88; 8. Joseph Davis (Mt. Pulaski) 88.
Individual Sectional Qualifiers: Dain Richie (South County) 72; Jadon Wheeler (Jacksonville Westfair Christian Academy) 78; Kyle Abraham (Pleasant Plains) 82; Ethen Siglock (Carlinville) 84; Henry Kufa (Carlinville) 84; Ryley Marko (North Mac) 88; Joseph Davis (Mt. Pulaski) 88; Gordie Euson (Greenview) 90; Massimo Polistina (Williamsville) 91; Lucas Smith (PORTA) 92.