The Litchfield girls golf team thought they could make a run at the conference championship last year, a thought that came to fruition with a 27 stroke win over second place Carlinville.
This year, the Lady Panthers knew they would be the team to beat, but the extra pressure did nothing to faze the girls in purple as they became the fifth school to claim consecutive titles at the South Central Conference Girls Golf Tournament since 1997.
Litchfield not only won the tournament, but they did so by 22 strokes, coincidentally the same number of strokes that the team improved their score by from 2019. Last year, the Lady Panthers shot a 401, but in 2020, the team carded a 379 to win their second team title comfortably.
The backbone of this year’s team, and last year’s, was the combo of Laura Boston and Carly Guinn, who finished first and second individually.
Boston earned her second straight South Central Conference individual title, shooting an 84, the same score that won her medalist honors last year.
Guinn, who was third last year with a 95, upped her game and finished just two strokes behind her teammate, shooting an 86 on the day as Litchfield boasted the only two players to break 90 on the day.
While no one joined the two Panthers in the 80s, this year’s nine player all-conference team all broke 100, the first time that had been done since the tournament moved to Indian Springs in 2016.
Several other members of the Litchfield squad flirted with breaking 100 as well, but still put in good rounds despite narrowly missing that mark.
Lauren Monke made an immediate impact in her first South Central Conference Tournament, shooting a 104 to give Litchfield it’s third scoring round.
Hailey Rentz also made the top four for the Panthers, shooting a 105, one better than her score at last year’s tournament.
Alyssa Loyd and Olivia Fleming would be Litchfield’s number five and six players on the day, with Loyd shooting a 108 and Fleming shooting a 123 in her tournament debut. Loyd, a junior, was playing in her third SCC tournament and saw her score dip from a 145 as a freshman to 116 as a sophomore to this year’s 108.
Loyd and Guinn are actually the elder statesmen of the group, with Rentz, Monke, Fleming and Boston all a year younger than the junior duo.
With six returning starters, another title could be in the cards for the Lady Panthers, who will be looking to join Roxana (2010-2013), Hillsboro (2004-2009) and Alton Marquette (1999-2003) as the only teams to earn three or more consecutive titles.
Until then though, Litchfield has unfinished business this season as they close out the regular season. Today, Oct. 1, they will play Greenville, Staunton and Breese Central at the Greenville Country Club, followed by the Auburn Ryder Invite at Edgewood Golf Club in Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 3. The team will close out the regular season on Monday, Oct. 5, against Auburn and Rochester at the Litchfield Country Club.
Sept. 28 at Fillmore
South Central Conference Girls Golf Tournament
Indian Springs - Par 71
Girls Team Results: 1. Litchfield 379; 2. Carlinville 401; 3. Staunton 407; 4. Hillsboro 412; 5. Roxana 428; 6. Greenville 429; 7. Pana 459.
All-Conference: 1. Laura Boston (Litchfield) 84; 2. Carly Guinn (Litchfield) 86; 3. Analise Best (Staunton) 94; 3. Abby Weiss (Greenville) 94; 5. Meagan Jorn (Hillsboro) 95; 5. Caidy Tuetken (Staunton) 95; 7. Marlee Whitler (Carlinville) 97; 8. Mia McCoy (Roxana) 98; 8. Rachel Ronat (Greenville) 98.
Litchfield (379) - Laura Boston 84, Carly Guinn 86, Lauren Monke 104, Hailey Rentz 105, Alyssa Loyd 108, Olivia Fleming 123.
Carlinville (401) - Marlee Whitler 97, Elsa Mefford 100, Megan Dunn 101, Brigid Dunn 103, Peyton Drew 110, Emma Gansz 125.
Staunton (407) - Analise Best 94, Caidy Tuetken 95, Kendall Meyer 108, Whitney Weller 110, Emma Tjaden 114, Jacqueline Vercoglio 129.
Hillsboro (412) - Meagan Jorn 95, Anna Colwell 101, Alex Frailey 107, Gracie Brink 109, Sam Frailey 129, Aurelie Granito 133.
Roxana (428) - Mia McCoy 98, Reagan Lynn 102, Sarah Floyd 104, Sydney Watts 124, Ava Strohmeier 124, Grace Brock 126.
Greenville (429) - Abby Weiss 94, Rachel Ronat 98, Aly Schaub 109, Casly Schaub 128, Stella Lagermann 154.
Pana (459) - Ellie Kuhn 110, Jillian Hamilton 116, Ellie Kuhn 110, Katelyn Townsend 125, Claire Osborn 135, Madison Clark 136.
Vandalia - McKenzie Justice 106, Hannah Warner 114, Ashtyn Ferguson 131.