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Family links Cougars

Freidags pace Eastland’s run to sectional

Eastland’s Kori Freidag and sister Karissa will lead the Cougars at Saturday’s 1A Aquin Sectional.
Eastland’s Kori Freidag and sister Karissa will lead the Cougars at Saturday’s 1A Aquin Sectional.

Karissa Freidag could hardly have picked a better time for her first eagle.

Her drive was not in the fairway, but her second shot was almost perfect. Playing the 389-yard, par-5 No. 1 hole at Wolf Hollow Golf Course , Freidag drove the ball some 150 yards and was not on the fairway.

The Eastland-Milledgeville sophomore pulled her 4-hybrid out of the bag and stroked a beautiful second shot that rolled up some 4 feet from the cup.

Moments later, she tapped in for eagle on the first hole of a playoff to win Wednesday's Class 1A Lena-Winslow Regional.

"It was pretty exciting," Freidag said. "I didn't see it coming. The playoff was kind of scary, but it was a really good experience for me as a sophomore."

Freidag did not realize she had made eagle until her longtime coach, Jason Hill, informed her.

Freidag, her sister Kori, a senior, and the rest of the Eastland-Milledgeville squad will be shooting to advance to state today at the Aquin Sectional at Freeport's Park Hills West.

Karissa's winning performance, an 8-over-par 80, and Kori's fourth-place showing, 87, helped the Cougars finish second at the regional.

Kori and the rest of the team were thrilled with Karissa's winning eagle.

"It was so awesome," Kori said. "Our whole team was watching her. We were a little louder than we should be on the golf course."

Karissa loves having her big sister around.

"She really helps me," she said. "She's made me a better player. I love her. She's the best."

"It's really fun going to practice and meets together," Kori added. "We get to share our accomplishments and support each other. It's really nice."

Hill, who is also the pro at Lake Carroll Golf Course in Lanark, is more than a coach to the Freidags. He's been coaching Kori since she was about 7, and Karissa since she was about 5.

"He's been a great coach and great friend," Kori said. "He's a big role model to me, too. I worked for him for a year, and he was an awesome boss, too."

"I've spent a lot of summers with those two," Hill said of the Freidags. "It's been great developing relationships with them. They're great kids."

Hill may have to take on a different role immediately after today's action.

"Our homecoming dance is [today]. I told the girls that I'd do their hair," he laughed.
Whether their hair is ready or not Saturday night, Hill feels the team is ready for sectionals.

"If we get four good scores and the Freidag girls do their thing, we have a good chance to make it to state," Hill said.

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