Boys and Girls both win Golf Sectionals

by John Ring

It was a day of vindication for Brett Hayes.

It was a day of revenge for Natalie Hasselbacher.

But Tuesday was mostly a day in which a little sports history was made.

Both Silver Streak golf teams -- the boys coached by Steve Cheesman and the girls under Lorraine Gottenborg -- won their respective Sectionals and are making trips to the State Tournament.

For Gottenborg, it was the third time in a row. Her Streaks finished 4th last year and to make their victory near total, they won by 12 strokes over Maroa-Forsythe, a school from the Decatur area that beat them just a few weeks ago.

For Cheesman, it was a vindication of sorts as well. While his team was very successful this year, there was some turbulence. A botched scorecard cost them the Western Big 6 championship. A golfer on his squad with a history of being suspended from sports teams was on the roster.

But on Super Tuesday it all came together. For Cheesman, it happened at Soangataha Country Club. For Gottenborg, it was in Springfield.

Hayes, who made the mistake of signing a scorecard with the wrong score at the Big 6 tourney, shot a blistering 73 and finished in first place overall. Mike Wood, who was twice suspended from the basketball team last year, shot a 77.

''Without Mike's score, we were in trouble,'' said Cheesman. ''He came through big-time for us. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. Everybody makes mistakes. Mike made some but he's been great for our team. He never misses a practice. He's always ready when we need him.''

''Brett was just outstanding today,'' continued the Streaks coach. ''He came out with more determination and more focus after what happened to him at the conference meet. It was very fitting that Brett was the champion today.''

''As soon as that happened,'' said Hayes about his now-infamous signature, ''I was thinking of just one thing and that was revenge. My teammates were very supportive of me. Today, I felt pretty good going into the match. I hit my tee shots down the middle and they were low. As windy as it was, it was important to keep them low.''

''Our guys showed a lot of poise,'' said Cheesman. ''They didn't get rattled. I'm just very pleased for them. It's everyone's goal, or at least it should be, to go to state. We want to finish as high as we possibly can down there this weekend.''

Gottenborg's team had their usual balance: Natalie Hasselbacher shot an 86 (7th overall), while Marcy Herrin (88), Jessica Tapper (88), Anna Willy (95) and Lynzee Gumm (99) battled the elements and a tough course but still came through with respectable scores.

''I'm very ready for the course at Bloomington after today,'' said Willy. ''The one we played at today in Springfield was the toughest I've seen this year.''

Gottenborg echoed those sentiments. ''Our team will be much more comfortable at Bloomington after the conditions we faced today. Our purpose was to win but we didn't expect to win by the score we did. But our scores were close together and that's exactly what we've done all year long.''

Hasselbacher started off slow by five-putting the first hole but she didn't get rattled. ''That first hole was kind of a disaster and the 9-hole bothered me but I did fine everywhere else,'' said that talented Streaks junior. ''We thought our score with Maroa would be a lot closer. It was great to go down there and win the Sectional.''

Now a three-year veteran of state tournament action, Natalie truly appreciates the kind of team she plays on.

''Our winning is a combination of things,'' said Hasselbacher. ''We have different players step up and play well so there isn't a lot of pressure. We all get along real good and that makes it easier. It just seems that we win all the time. It's really cool.''

The Streaks aren't going to State just happy to be there. They seem to be on a mission. ''We know what to expect down there,'' said Hasselbacher. ''We have a lot of confidence going down there.''

Both Streak coaches took a lot of pride in what their teams did.

''I'm as proud as I could possibly be of their poise and work ethic,'' said Cheesman. ''It's an outstanding accomplishment for our team. They really deserve this reward.''

The Sectional trophy will come later. Champaign Central, which tied Galesburg at 312, took the first-place trophy home. But the Streaks will get one to keep of their very own.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online October 10, 2001

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