Girls Golf: Joliet Catholic eyes return to state
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media August 12, 2012 3:42PM
Joliet Catholic girls golf team (left to right) Alexa McClintock, Claire O'Connor, Madeline Troha and Carmella Bolin return to make another run at state at Woodruff Golf Course, Thursday, August 9th, 2012 in Joliet, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Girls Golf 2012
THE BIG THREE
Joliet Catholic: Four returning starters will shoot for the school’s second straight trip to state. A move to Class AA will make matters more difficult.
Lincoln-Way East: Look for individual state qualifiers Kelly Sterling and Katie Reno to improve on their performances at the state finals. Sterling finished tied for 29th in 2011 while Reno finished in a tie for 55th.
Providence: The Celtics just missed out on sectional play, but return three regional advancers in Alyssa Newling, Maggie Corso and Maddie Utter.
(in alphabetical order)
Alexis Biedrzycki, Sophomore, Lincoln-Way West: Coach Tim Daly says, “Alexis is the best player I’ve ever coached.” She tied for 39th in the Class AA state finals.
Alex Catalano, Junior, Plainfield South: Top individual advancer out of Neuqua Valley Regional.
Kayla Garritson, Sophomore, Lockport: Shot the fourth-best score of an individual qualifier at the Class AA Stagg Regional in 2011.
Bridget Lynn, Junior, Lemont: Top returning scorer helped Lemont win regional title.
Jasmine Wissinger, Senior, Plainfield East: Advanced to sectional play after leading her team at the Neuqua Valley Regional.
Updated: October 12, 2012 1:27AM
You’ve heard about the prominent role chemistry plays in team sports such as basketball, volleyball or soccer.
But golf? Not so much.
To hear Joliet Catholic talk, however, chemistry was the driving force in 2011 in its first-ever trip to the state finals. And with the senior foursome of friends Claire O’Connor, Maddy Troha, Carmella Bolin and Alexa McClintock back, it’s easy to see why the team advanced out of regional and sectional play with aplomb.
“We created this atmosphere over the last three years,” Bolin said, “a fun atmosphere where we pick each other up and stay positive.”
Each girl concurred, and the amiable vibe was evident on the team’s first day of practice at Woodruff Golf Course in Joliet.
“We have a good team because we all get along together. If you don’t get along, it’s hard to want to go to practice,” McClintock said. “We keep each other happy and loose. If you do bad on a hole and you’re not feeling up for the next one, someone is going to joke around and give you a boost.”
Don’t let the Angels’ easygoing nature make them appear as less than focused. The talented quartet will own a combined 16 years of varsity experience after this season, and O’Connor, a frequent team medalist, has been improving her game. In June, she took first at the SouthtownStar Challenge by six strokes.
“I’ve been practicing a lot over the summer,” she said. “I’m hoping to break all of my personal records this year.”
The girls conceded they didn’t envision doing so well last season, especially after getting beaten up in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Yet the team thrived as a dark horse.
“We were the underdog all year. We didn’t expect much at regionals, but that’s when we played really well and realized we could do it and go far,” Troha said. “At sectionals, we got the third-place spot, the last to advance, and everybody freaked out. It was such a big deal for us. Nobody thought we’d make it that far.”
Coach Kathy Major figured the Angels would send one or two girls individually to state, but the team advancing was a serious surprise. She noted O’Connor consistently led the scoreboard, but it was the growth and the depth of the team around her that led to the team advancing.
Major also said last season’s drop to Class A was beneficial, but she expects her team to compete again despite being back in Class AA this year.
“I think we’re going to do very well,” Major said. “They’re an intelligent group, so they learn from their mistakes. They don’t need to be motivated.
“These girls set a nice standard (last year) and showed we could be competitive. We’ve had some individual golfers in the past, but this team has such depth. I’m going to miss them, but this season is going to be a lot of fun.”