WOOD RIVER — Sara Gwillim of Civic Memorial did what she needed to do Wednesday in the Class A Roxana Regional at Belk Park Golf Course.
So did the Marquette Catholic Explorers.
Gwillim joined three other Great Alton area individuals and the Marquette Catholic Explorers’ team for Monday’s Carterville Sectional at the Crab Orchard Lake Course. Roxana’s Andrea Mellenthin and Bailey Sharpmack, along with CM’s Isabella Roberts, also secured sectional berths. Mellenthin carded a 91, Sharpmack finished with a 96 and Roberts logged a 98.
“My goal was to finish in the top five places,” Gwillim said. The senior shot an 80, with scores of 41 and 39. The sectional berth came on the heels of a playoff victory for the Mississippi Valley Conference championship.
She added, “My play was OK today. I saved a lot of pars and that was pretty clutch. But I’d rather be in the fairways more or on the greens. I need to work on my drives and iron play.”
Eagles’ coach Jane Middleton noted, “Sara has worked hard at it and I’m really proud of her and Isabella. Our goal is to get somebody to state.”
Nobody was more delighted about her team than Marquette coach Deb Walsh. She watched the Explorers shoot a 367 total for the third and final team berth. Belleville Althoff won it with a 325 and Waterloo took second at 352. Gabby David of the Crusaders shot a 2-over-par 74 for medalist honors. She finished one stroke ahead of Waterloo’s Haley Faus.
Marquette benefited from a pack mentality and a strong finish, Walsh stressed.
“We had some really good play and we played as a group. We always have done that,” she said. “I’m ecstatic that we got through the regional. We rose to the occasion over the final few holes.”
Carlee Cronin posted an 87, best for the Explorers. Ellie Kane was right behind her with an 88. Maddie Connors had a 95 and Lauren Walsh a 97 to figure in the Marquette scoring.
“I knew it would be a battle and a challenge in the regional and we responded,” Walsh said. “I’m so proud of my players.”
CM shot a 398 score in the 14-team field. Roxana had a 422, but the Shells, like the Eagles, advanced two players to Carterville.
“I’m really happy about that,” Shells coach Krissy Little said. “Andrea is a senior and qualified for the sectional last year. Bailey’s a sophomore and this will be her first time there.
“Both of them have been playing well and working hard all season. It would be nice if we can qualify somebody to go to state.”
That’s Gwillim’s goal. It’s state or bust for her. The IHSA two-class finals are cast in Decatur later this month.
“I really want to do it because it’s my senior year,” Gwillim said. “I think I’ve been playing well. I really played well when I won the conference championship. It was my biggest thrill of the year so far.
“I really wasn’t too worried today. It’s going to be more nerve-wracking Monday in the sectional. I just need to relax and focus more on what I need to do.”
Other individuals advancing to the sectional included: Natalie Meinkoth (79) and DeAnn Hudson (96) of Mascoutah, Hannah Eppenbach (88), Ciara Taake (96) and Katie Strelins (96) of Columbia, plus Makensy Umscheid (92), Destiny Restoff (92) and Shelbi Westmoreland (93) of Columbia and Hannah Taylor (83) of Jersey.