CHANNAHON — For most teams in the IHSA Class 2A Minooka Regional on Wednesday, the goal was to secure their spot in next week’s sectional tournament, but for our two local squads, it was about making individual improvement for next season.
Heading into the regional at Heritage Bluffs Golf Club, both Bradley-Bourbonnais and Kankakee knew they weren’t going to be in contention when it came to coming in at the tops of the leaderboards, as both squads entered as the two youngest teams in one of the most competitive regionals in the state.
“I knew there were so many strong teams here, and so I just wanted our girls to play well,” Bradley-Bourbonnais coach Kathy Colclasure said. “I wanted them to play their game and try to improve upon what their average score is.
“We can’t compete against people who shoot 80. We can’t go from 110 to 80 all of a sudden and try to win the thing, so I know just coming in we had to have the attitude of ‘play your best golf.’”
As Colclasure predicted, the Boilermakers were unable to advance in team or individual play. However, they did manage to outperform their last season regional placement by taking seventh place as a team this year with a score of 421. It was two steps up from when they finished in ninth during last year’s regional.
“I’m very pleased with how we played today,” Colclasure said. “All of our scores were under 120, so today we had a lot of good scores from our younger golfers, and we are just going to continue to keep going forward and try to improve those scores. My expectations were just to get out here and gain the experience of what it means to be in a regional.”
Bradley-Bourbonnais was led by all of its younger golfers. Freshman Madelyn Duchane led the Boilermakers with 100, followed by freshman Gabby Hubbs with 105. Freshman Danica Voss finished with 106, and sophomore Larrigan Saindon rounded out Bradley’s top shooters with a 110.
“Next year looks very promising, and I’m excited for it,” Colclasure said. “I know they have a great work ethic, and I hope they get out to some tournaments over this summer. I think we are going to continue to grow and build with our young team.”
Similar to Bradley-Bourbonnais, Kankakee failed to record a spot in next week’s sectional, as the Kays tallied a 551 team score to take 11th in their long return to girls team play.
“We are brand new, and we haven’t had a girls team for quite a few years,” Kankakee coach Kellie English said. “We started the season with one girl and, because of COVID-19, we did picked up a couple of new girls. So, just being new to the whole sport, I think they did really well.”
Unlike Bradley-Bourbonnais, the Kays only brought four golfers to the regional, which meant all four of their scores would count toward Kankakee’s total. Sophomore Nora Mulcahy shot 118 to lead the Kays, followed by senior JaMya Springer with 122, sophomore Macey Moore with 150 and junior Leaha Voss with 159.
“They were a new group, so our expectations were to just make sure they were enjoying themselves; it seemed like they did,” English said. “We had two of them finish well above what we were expecting. We were just looking for them to break 60 for each of the nine holes. We had two girls [who] were right there with 118 and 122.”
Out of all four golfers, Coach English was most impressed with the volleyball-player-turned-golfer, Mulcahy, who shot the best score for a Kays squad that will return everyone but Springer.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of pressure to keep her playing golf next year,” English said. “Actually the whole crew — we lose one, so we will lose JaMyah because she is graduating, but the other three will hopefully be returning next year.”
English knows how important it is to keep Kankakee’s girls golf program alive, so she said she wants to make sure her team is at least enjoying themselves out on the links even when they aren’t doing so great on the course.
“We might not be winning, but we are still out there laughing and having fun,” English said.