Evanston girls golf coach Karilyn Joyce called it “the best season we’ve ever had.”
And the best is yet to come, with two sectional qualifiers returning for the Wildkits next fall.
The Kits were unable to take the next step --- falling short of qualifying for the Illinois High School Association state tournament --- at Monday’s Conant Sectional, as individual qualifiers Clara Lynk, Drew Patterson and Katie Gemmell couldn’t make the cut.
Lynk, a senior, carded a team-best 44-51-95 and juniors Patterson (45-53-98) and Gemmell (53-52-105) also experienced some quality holes but couldn’t achieve the individual cutoff of 89 that it took to keep their seasons alive.
New Trier (318), Loyola Academy (325) and Glenbrook South (340) claimed the automatic team qualifying berths for the IHSA finals, with New Trier’s Audrey Tir earning medalist honors at 73.
“I am so proud of them and I’m happy with what they accomplished this year,” said Joyce. “The fact that the top three teams in the sectional were the same three teams from our regional just shows how tough it is to get out of our regional. The two girls we have coming back (Patterson and Gemmell) had to play well to get out of the regional, and they’ll both only get better because they love golf so much.
“There’s no reason they can’t get out of the regional and maybe go farther next year, too.”
As a team, the Wildkits had more 9-hole rounds in the 40s this year than Joyce could even begin to count. That’s the way Monday’s round began for both Lynk and Patterson before they faded down the stretch.
“Clara hit a couple of bad shots after that 44 and her putting got worse,” Joyce pointed out. “Drew had one 4-putt and a couple of 7s on the back nine and she thought she was playing bad. I told her it’s not bad at all, you can have one or two bad holes. Those were very decent scores for both of them. Any time you’re in the 40s, you’re doing very well.
“All three of them shot good scores in the practice rounds and they know they can go to State next year. They got some good experience with all the tournaments we went to this year and how well they did. Now it comes down to what they want to do in the off-season. We set a record for sectional qualifiers this year and I’m looking forward to the future with the 6 freshmen we have, if they stick to it.”