CARBONDALE — To say that Massac County and Nashville high schools dominate their divisions of the River-to-River Conference in girls golf each season would be a gross understatement.
Since the conference formed in the fall of 1993, the Massac County Patriots have collected 24 titles, including nine straight.
On Tuesday, the girls from Metropolis posted a team score of 340 or 68 strokes better than second-place Benton at 408 to capture the Ohio crown at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale.
Nashville won the Mississippi title handily, recording a score of 379 or 57 strokes better than second-place Anna-Jonesboro at 436. The Hornettes have won 10 of the last 13 league championships and 13 overall since the fall of 1993.
Finishing third in the Mississippi Division was Carterville with a team score of 448. Neither Du Quoin nor Pinckneyville fielded a full team and thus was unable to post a team score.
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Placing third in the Ohio was Harrisburg at 428. West Frankfort was fourth at 453 and Murphysboro fifth at 458. Herrin did not have enough players to field a full team as two players withdrew from the competition. All in all, six girls withdrew from the meet, mostly due to the piercing heat and humidity.
Earning medalist honors for best individual performances were junior Elise Coakley of Massac County in the Ohio Division and freshman Brynn Stiegman of Nashville in the Mississippi Division.
Coakley beat out senior teammate, Josie Walker, in a three-hole playoff after both had fired a 79 through 18 holes. Stiegman won the Mississippi with a round of 87. Her closest rival was also a teammate - Shelby Thorson - who finished at 93.
"When you take the heat into consideration (temperatures in the upper 90s by mid-afternoon), I would say that I'm quite pleased with the play of our girls today," said Patriots head coach Mallory McVey. "I just wanted the girls to get through it. And they did. None of them quit."
McVey said she was especially pleased with the play of Coakley and Walker.
"Both got off to a rough start over the first nine holes, but then they bounced back to play a much stronger second nine," McVey said. "All season long, one has often been the medalist at a meet and the other is right behind. They have had a great season up to this point."
Nashville head coach Doug Kell was pleased to add another trophy to the case at the high school.
"I totally expected this today," he said. "I'm not trying to sound cocky. That's just our mindset every year. It's our No. 1 goal to win the conference and then advance to the sectional meet and state. Anything less and we feel we haven't had a great season."
Kell spoke highly of Stiegman, his freshman sensation.
"Brynn has shot as low as 84 over 18 holes, but that was at the Okawville Invitational, and that course isn't nearly as tough as the one here at Hickory Ridge. Considering the heat and degree of difficulty, I would say this is her best round of golf this fall."
Stiegman said she was surprised to win the tournament.
"It's such an honor to win this. My putting was really good today and I had pretty good length off the tee. Still, I wasn't thinking that I had won. I didn't know I had until I came in and saw the other scores that were turned in."
Stiegman said her late father introduced her to the game of golf when she was 3 and her mother, DeAnn, has followed her around at every meet.
"My mom's always been there for me, and my grandpa helped me out when I was younger, too. And of course, Coach Kell, has helped me a lot. I'm really excited I won today. It means so much to me."
Coakley felt similarly in capturing medalist honors over her teammate on the Ohio side.
"When we found out there would be a playoff for first, I would have been happy either way - first or second," she said. "Today, my short game kept me in the match. For a while there, I was letting the thoughts in my head get to me. Fortunately, I recovered and started to play better over the second nine holes."
Coakley said her lowest round for 18 holes was a 73 at Paxton Park in Paducah. But she was more than satisfied with her 79 in the heat Tuesday in Carbondale.
Walker said that if she had to lose a match, she's glad it came at the hands of her teammate.
"I'm exhausted," said the senior just a few minutes after the two had completed three additional playoff holes. "This is the first time I ever had to compete in a playoff. Overall, I think I played pretty well today. This is definitely one of the hottest rounds of golf I have ever played. I was constantly wiping my hands off before swinging because I was sweating so much. I'm thankful I had Elise to help me get through it. We are always there for one another."
Named to the Mississippi Division of the River-to-River All-Conference Team were: Stiegman-Nashville (87), Thorson-Nashville (93), Savannah Downey-Nashville (94), Philla Cowser-Carterville (104), Zoe Lopez-Nashville (105), Presley Bierstedt-Anna-Jonesboro (105), Gabi Flores-Anna-Jonesboro (105), Olivia Hunter-Carterville (107), Torie Ralls-Anna-Jonesboro (112), Raelynn Sadler-Anna-Jonesboro (114), Reese Reynolds-Anna-Jonesboro (114) and Lily Emge-Nashville (114).
Named to the Ohio Division of the River-to-River All-Conference Team were: Coakley and Walker-Massac County (79), Frankie Leigh Nicholes-Harrisburg (85), Clara Gahagan-Murphysboro (87), Alyssa Dawson-Benton (88), Katie Frazine-Massac County (90), Hannah Heine-Massac County (92), Olivia Heine-Massac County (93),, Ava Groves-Benton (98) and Hannah Jones-Harrisburg (99).