Depth carries New Trier to team title
Stevenson senior Stephanie Miller won the Class AA individual state championship at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur Saturday, the second state title of her decorated career. l Gary Middendorf~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 3:16PM
DECATUR — Ellie McGuire was 9-over par through six holes at the AA girls golf state tournament Friday, with a balky putter and a driver that just wasn’t working.
“She told me after the seventh hole that she couldn’t put anything together,” New Trier coach Scott Fricke said. “I kept telling her, ‘Don’t worry. We’ve got scores coming in.’ ”
New Trier won the weather-shortened team championship at Hickory Point Golf Club Saturday, continuing a season-long trend by riding the contributions of a rotating cast to its sixth title since 2000. McGuire, a senior who was playing in her team’s final position, carded an 87 on Friday, but the Trevians still posted four scores in the 70s.
“We have such a deep team,” said senior Nerissa Denenberg, who was an alternate when the Trevians last won a state title in 2010 and finished in a tie for ninth with a 77. “All of us have the ability to shoot low. There’s some days where our top players don’t play well. Someone always comes through.
“We’re pretty competitive with each other. We all want to be the person who comes through to have that low round of the day.”
Inclement weather forced the second round of the state tournament to be canceled after five holes Saturday. Because IHSA rules call for the medalist to be decided by the first-round scores, Friday’s results became the winning total.
New Trier shot 313 as a team, posting that number early in the day and watching as Prospect faded to a 317 and Sacred Heart-Griffin finished third with 322. In addition to Denenberg’s team-best score, the Trevians got a 78 from senior Callie Nelson and 79s from sophomore Lois Suh and junior Lexi Salberg.
Salberg’s round was especially impressive because she usually plays in the No.-6 position and was making her state tournament debut.
“You can’t ask for more from a kid who’s never played down at state,” Fricke said. “We needed her.”
“We say all year that it doesn’t matter where you play. We take four out of six scores.”
New Trier was well-rounded all postseason.
When the Trevians won the CSL championship on Sept. 21, junior Julia Schuham led the team with a career-low round of 76. Denenberg’s round of 78 was the team’s best score at the New Trier Regional on Oct. 3, and McGuire and Nelson shot matching 82s to lead the Trevians at the Carmel Sectional on Oct. 8.
Saturday might have been McGuire’s day again — she was 1-under through five holes when the lightning siren sounded.
“It’s just one of those things where our kids play for one another,” Fricke said. “Golf is a lot more fun when you’re playing for your team.”
Miller earns another medal
Stevenson senior Stephanie Miller owns a pair of AA individual state championship medals now, but there’s no question about which title is her favorite.
“Sophomore year takes the cake,” Miller said Saturday. “It was two days. I mean, come on. This was just one.”
Miller shot a steady 1-under 71 on Friday, hitting 17 greens in regulation en route to a one-shot victory over Buffalo Grove senior Grace Kil and Neuqua Valley freshman Jessica Yuen. Miller cruised through the postseason, firing a 4-under 67 to win the Barrington Regional on Oct. 3 and taking second at the Carmel Sectional with a 75.
She also won the individual state championship as a sophomore in 2010 with a two-day total of 141, and will end her career at Stevenson as one of the state’s most decorated female golfers after finishing sixth at state in 2011 and tied for eighth as a freshman in 2009.
According to the IHSA website, Miller is the 10th player to win two state titles and the first since Kris Yoo of Conant in 2009. No one has ever won three individual championships.
Hard-luck Kil places second
Minutes after Saturday’s final round was called off, Kil was moving down an assembly line of hugs, casually eating from a bag of chips and trying to convince coach Matt Myers to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.
But the senior’s calm demeanor was just a mask for her disappointment in the result.
“I’m actually pretty mad,” Kil said. “I’m mad and sad because it’s my senior year. I really wanted to try all 36 (holes) and see what happens.”
Kil was even through four holes when Saturday’s round was canceled, continuing her solid play from a first-round 72 on Friday. Her second-place finish is just the latest in a string of near misses in Decatur — she finished tied for fourth in 2011 and seventh in 2010.
“When we were playing, I really thought I had a chance,” Kil said. “One stroke is nothing. It only takes one hole to mess up or get a birdie.”
Passing the time
With about three and a half hours passing between the time the lightning sirens went off around 10:30 a.m. and the official cancelation of the second round at 2 p.m., players had plenty of free time Saturday.
It seemed everyone was looking for ways not to think about golf.
Hinsdale Central — which shot a disappointing 329 on Friday to finish fourth after shooting 311 to win the Naperville North Regional on Oct. 3 and 316 to win the Marian Sectional on Oct. 8 — benefitted from having its entire team at state.
“They stuck together as a team,” coach Janelle Marconi said. “They ate, they basically did every line of ‘Pitch Perfect,’ the movie we went and saw Thursday night. They became a choir at some point in time.
“It’s just that kind of stuff. Just to do things to kind of keep your mind off of what’s going to happen.”
Junior Isabelle Kane was the only representative from her Loyola team in Decatur. With the driving range closed on Saturday, she passed the time Saturday by talking with her parents and coach Jim Jackimiec.
“We didn’t really talk much golf,” said Kane, who shot a 3-over 75 on Friday to finish tied for fourth. “I was kind of bummed. I was ready to go.”