Day 2 proved more fulfilling for the East Alton-Wood River Oilers golf team Saturday at the IHSA Class 1A boys finals.
The Oilers improved their team score by 18 strokes and finished 11th with a 716 total at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington. It was EA-WR’s first trip to the state tournament.
“The first day (Friday) we were sort of nervous and had a deer in the headlights look,” Oilers’ coach Dave Sobol said. “But it was much better today.”
EA-WR recorded a second-day score of 349 to go along with their Friday 356 effort. The Oilers finished 26 strokes ahead of 12th place Pittsfield. Beecher and Aledo County both shot 699 to share ninth – 17 strokes ahead of EA-WR.
“I don’t want to say we were intimidated the first day, but we had some doubts and that made it tough,” Sobol said. “Confidence is your biggest ally in this sport.”
Four of the five Oilers lowered their scores and increased their confidence the second day. Senior Brett Gaines carded an 81 to go with a first-day 86 for a team-best 167.
Drew Sobol was next with rounds of 91 and 83 for a 174 score. Jake Hei, the other senior on the squad, posted scores of 96 and 86 for a 196. Brendon Allen chipped in with a 96 and 100 for a 196 and Hunter O’Brien had a 101 and 99 for a 200.
El Paso Gridley shot 617 for the team title. Hunter York of Decatur Lutheran emerged as the state champion with a 144 score, or par. Waterloo Gibault’s Sam Range, the Trenton Wesclin Sectional champion, finished eighth with a 153.
Roxana senior Zack Moore shot a 159 score over 36 holes to tie for 28th place in the IHSA Class 2A finals at Weibring Golf Course in Normal. He finished 17 strokes over par with rounds of 80 and 79.
Three other players, including Triad’s Brayden Polansky, shared 28th place. Polansky was medalist of the Roxana Regional.
“Zack might not have played his best at state, but he fought hard,” Shells’ coach Jeff Pare said. “He kept grinding it out.”
Moore, champion of the Hickory Stick Invitational earlier this season at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River, advanced through the Metro East Lutheran Regional and Waterloo Sectional.
Morton shot a 615 team for team honors. Glenbard South was next at 622, followed by Galesburg at 624. Belleville Althoff placed 11th in the 12-team competition.
Tommy Kuhl of Morton registered a 142 score, or par, for individual honors. He finished one stroke ahead of Galesburg’s Jackson Wetherbee. Matthew McCarthy of Althoff tied for ninth at 151.