Announcements and Important Events
By Daniel Makarewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCK ISLAND -- Even as it made history last fall with its first Western Big 6 Conference title and state trophy, the Alleman boys' golf program always viewed the current campaign as the one with the most potential.
To reach that, the Pioneers must conquer a loaded sectional field.
Alleman heads to a deep Class 2A Metamora Sectional with high hopes, but the realization a state berth presents a challenge. Besides boasting the two-time reigning state champion, half of the 12-team field features teams that shot 315 or lower at the regional.
No other sectional has more than five teams at that number.
"The three teams that make it out of this sectional certainly have the potential for a trophy," said Alleman coach Gene Elsner, whose team finished third at the Class 1A state meet last fall. "It's not a guaranteed trophy, but they will be in the hunt."
Before talking about a trophy, state advancement needs to happen. Alleman finished second at the Galesburg Regional, but its 303 at the tournament is tied for the fifth-lowest score among the sectional qualifiers.
Sophomore Ryan Rochholz and senior Dylan Cervantes finished first and second, respectively, at the regional. The other four scorers the Pioneers count upon carried their steady and consistent play into the postseason.
"We're better this year than we were last year," Rochholz said.
There is depth, consistency and more experience. Against a sectional field that requires going low to survive, Alleman's intangibles will be utilized.
The regional score may be good, but it still knows it can shave some strokes off that score.
"I just know all of us had an average day" at the regional, Cervantes said. "We're just trying to fix everything right now. We're adjusting."
Ahead of the sectional at Metamora Fields Golf Club, the Pioneers played the course several times recently to get a feel for the course. Elsner said the team liked the layout and how it played, so confidence has been established.
That is needed today.
Since golf expanded to three classes for the 2008 season, the 12 teams in the sectional have won 12 state trophies. Morton and Normal University both have two state championships. Dunlap, University High and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin each have a state runner-up trophy.
Last fall, three teams -- Alleman, Dunlap and Morton -- earned state trophies. Morton repeated as the Class 2A state champion.
"This sectional is very, very loaded," Rochholz said. "Probably one of the teams can win state."
Only three can advance to the state meet at Weibring Golf Club in Normal.
"We like the challenge," Cervantes said. "We're the type of players who like to play against competition. We want to be pushed. All of us play better against better teams."
Alleman wants to prove it is that caliber of a team.
"We're as ready as we can possibly be," Elsner said. "We have to play to the best of our ability."