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Boys golf: Kaneland makes first state trip since 1995

Kaneljunior Matt Yonkovich shot 72 lead Knights regional title last week. | Karen Naess~For Sun-Times Media

Kaneland junior Matt Yonkovich shot a 72 to lead the Knights to a regional title last week. | Karen Naess~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 12, 2012 12:02PM

Ever since last year’s disappointing postseason — with only one golfer making it out of regionals — Kaneland’s boys golf team had the goal of getting to the state meet.

Despite fighting through tough conditions Monday with an uncharacteristic 352 at the Class 2A Belvidere North Sectional at Timber Pointe, the Knights were able to follow through on that goal.

The Knights finished third at sectionals, good enough to be among the 12-team field at this weekend’s Class 2A state meet at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal. It is only the second time the program has advanced to the state tournament, the first coming in 1995.

“They felt frustrated after regionals last year,” Kaneland coach Mark Meyer said. “We knew we were better than that. They really worked hard in the offseason and throughout this season to accomplish this. They’re very pumped up. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Knights shot a dominant 302 at Sycamore Golf Club, cruising to the team regional title last week. All four of Kaneland’s counting scores were in the 70s, led by junior Matt Yonkovich’s 72. Monday, however, the Knights were 50 strokes worse than the week before in the blustery conditions at Timber Pointe.

At regionals, Kaneland beat Wheaton Academy by 17 strokes. On Monday, however, Wheaton Academy took second by four strokes over Kaneland.

“We didn’t play our best golf,” Meyer admitted. “We were lucky to make it through in the sense that the conditions were very difficult. It made it hard for the other teams as well. A lot of them were nervous after their rounds Monday, so they feel like they dodged a bullet and we’re starting from scratch. The good thing about making it through, we can put that score in the past and shoot well at state.”

Yonkovich has been the team’s leader throughout the season, and he will make his first state appearance this weekend. He has gone as low as 69 at Coyote Creek in Bartonville earlier this season, and Meyer thinks he has the skills to be one of the top players in the state.

“He’s got the ability,” Meyer said. “If he’s on, he can compete with a lot of different players, even Class 3A. It’s just a matter of getting on track off the bat. He really feeds off the confidence. He can put up under-par scores any day.”

ACC’s Sean Harreld is also in the Class 2A field. In Class 3A, a pair of individuals, Liam Creamer of Marmion and Evan Dill of Yorkville — the medalist at the Pekin Sectional — will be in the field.

On the girls’ side, Waubonsie Valley sophomore Bing Singhsumalee advanced as an individual in Class AA, despite adding 17 strokes to her career-best 64 at regionals. Teammate Courtney Williams joins her in the Class AA field. In Class A, Somonauk senior Jessica Schultz’s stellar season continued. She was the medalist at the Genoa-Kingston Sectional with a 77, helping the Bobcats advance as a team to state. Plano freshman Rylie Loux and Rosary junior Victoria Phipps also advanced.

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