Range advances to 4th straight state tourney

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Sam Range

There’s plenty to be excited about on the Monroe County high school boys golf scene, with both Gibault and Columbia advancing as teams to sectional play after placing second in their respective regionals.

Waterloo sent two players to sectional play as individuals.

With results still trickling in Tuesday evening after play was either canceled or suspended Monday due to rain and storms, Gibault senior Sam Range qualified for his fourth straight state appearance with an even-par 72 in the Class 1A Wesclin Sectional at Governor’s Run Golf Course in Carlyle.

The Class 1A state tournament takes place Oct. 17-18 at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.

Last Tuesday, Range led all golfers with a score of 75 in the Class 1A Waterloo Regional at The Acorns. Even better, the entire Hawks team advanced to  the sectional with a second place finish.

Alex Dietz shot an 89, Zach Heet shot a 93 and Jason Merz shot a 96 for Gibault.

“Sam stayed relaxed on the home course despite windy conditions,” Gibault first-year head coach Steve Bergheger said. “Jason Merz was key, because he had never shot below 100. I was proud of him and proud of our team. This was very gratifying for me.”

In the Class 2A Carbondale Regional last Tuesday, Columbia earned second place with a balanced group of golfers, advancing them to the sectional at Acorns, which was played Tuesday.

As a team, the Eagles shot a 332, which was second only to Massac County (315). Foster Gundlach shot an 81, followed by Drew Nowak at 82, Nolan Antonini at 84, Brett Luther at 85, Andrew Wittenauer at 89 and Hunter Dubis at 97.

The scores were not finalized late Tuesday afternoon, but Columbia head coach Tom Detmer said his team did not place high enough as a team to advance to this weekend’s Class 2A state tourney at Weibring Golf Club in Normal.

Also advancing out of the Carbondale regional were Waterloo golfers Avery Wheat (81) and Ryan Stites (86).

Stites advanced after a sudden death playoff with two other golfers vying for the final spot.

“With approximately 40 onlookers, Ryan holed out for a birdie from a greenside bunker to birdie the hole and take the final spot,” said proud dad Dave Stites, Waterloo’s head coach.

Other scores for Waterloo at regional were: Chase Whelan (90), Colin Whelan (91), Jordan Stites (97) and Daniel Bicklein (105).

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