Nashville and Massac County, two traditional girls golf powers, will carry the banner for Southern Illinois at the Class A state tournament at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur.
The Hornettes and Lady Patriots finished 1-2 at the Salem Sectional Monday. Nashville shot a 332 while Massac County finished 14 strokes back. Massac County sophomore Millie Lawson was regional and sectional medalist. She shot a career best 76 in sectional play.
Nashville is making its sixth appearance at the state tournament. The Hornettes were state champions in 2013. The Lady Patriots have won three state titles and this will be their 12th straight appearance at the state tournament.
In winning the sectional, the Hornettes recorded four players under 90 – Hope Rueter, Rachael Kell, Jill Guetersloh and Sara Guetersloh. Rueter finished one stroke behind Lawson for sectional medalist honors at 77.
Nashville shot a 332 to take the sectional title.
“I know they have it in them,” said Nashville coach Doug Kell. “Their swings are where they need to be. Their focus is where it needs to be. They’ve all played the state course in the last two or three weeks.
“They’ve been there and said ‘That course isn’t all that bad. Hickory Ridge is tougher.’ I’m happy they feel that course is easy enough. The pressure of state is going to add a while another element.”
Kell’s advice to his players is simple.
“First, I’m going to tell them to have fun, you’ve earned the trip,” he said. “I want them to enjoy the experience, everything about the experience. But, we’re still in business mode, and we have a goal in mind and that’s to win state. And, we have a team that can do it. I believe it, and I know they believe it.”
In the meantime, this is a typical Massac County team with any one of the six players capable of figuring into the scoring. Lawson, a sophomore, finished 19th overall at state last year and has been the team leader.
“To tell you what, just getting there is the hard part,” said Massac County coach Laurie Glass. “Getting through sectionals, going is just kind of great. To me, the sectional is so stressful. When you get to state, you’re there.
Four of the Massac County players were members of last year’s second place team.
“That is really going to help,” Glass said. “I have four girls that have experience on that course. They’ve been there before. They will still be nervous.”
“It’s just awesome just to come back and get another experience with this team,” Lawson said. “It’s just so much fun. I just love this team to death.”
Several individuals, including Megan and Sarah Breslin of Pinckneyville, Josie Sykes of Carbondale, Meg Schnoeker of Okawville, Maddy Wenzel of Carmi and Rorrie House of West Frankfort, all advanced to state.