HUNTLEY – The Rock Falls boys team needed to be at the peak of its powers to hang at the Class 2A Burlington Central Sectional held Monday at Whisper Creek Golf Club in Huntley.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, they weren’t.
Rock Falls finished with a team score of 354, good for 10th in a 12-team field. Crystal Lake South (308), Rockford Boylan (310) and Mundelein Carmel (313) were the top three teams and advance to the Class 2A state tournament slated for Friday and Saturday at Weibring Golf Club in Normal.
Leading the way for the Rockets were Kody Velazquez and Grant Wasson with an 84 and 85, respectively.
Velazquez opened with a 43 on the back nine, then came in with a 41 on the front nine. It took an 80 to get into a playoff for the 10th and final individual qualifying spot for state.
“I was kind of cold on the back nine, but once I got to the front, I was kind of hot and was even through about six holes,” Velazquez said. “I was trying to ride that wave to the end, but then had some bad holes that put me over the number I was looking for.”
Wasson also struggled in his first nine holes with a 45, and though he brought it back some on the front with a 40, it was still well over the cut line.
“Today I had a couple of double bogeys that really did me in,” Wasson said. “I didn’t play that bad, but some things went bad, and then I got unlucky on a couple of holes.”
Tyler Fauble (92) and Brayden Schulz (93) had the other counting scores for the Rockets. Jalen Bickett (95) and Spencer Schutz (95) rounded out the lineup.
It is an all-senior top six for Rock Falls, and it made its mark. It is the second consecutive season the Rockets qualified for sectional as a team, and it won a Big Northern Conference title this season.
“It was one of the best overall teams that I’ve been on,” Velazquez said. “I’m definitely proud of us for not losing too many matches the last 2 years, and being able to make it here as a team. It’s pretty impressive, I think.”
Sterling junior Carter Schlegel qualified for his first sectional and finished with a 113.
“I thought it was pretty fun, just the experience of being here,” Schlegel said.
The medalist was Crystal Lake South’s John Lishchynsky, who carded a 3-under-par 69. He won by four strokes over Aurora Central Catholic’s Nathan Turco and Boylan’s T.J. Baker.