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Gonzalez's 91 leads Lady Indians into 2nd round at Oregon

AURORA – It's been one heck of a brief stretch on the calendar for the Sandwich High School girls golf team.

Not only did the Lady Indians lay claim to the Interstate Eight Conference last Tuesday, but they followed it up by qualifying for the first sectional in school history after finishing third as a team Thursday afternoon at the Aurora Central Catholic Class 1A Regional here at Phillips Park Golf Course on Thursday.

"The whole year for us has been very successful and the last week or so has really proven to be remarkable," said Sandwich coach Randy Malloy, "winning conference last Tuesday and now making it to sectionals as a group today. These girls have put so much time and effort into their performances this season which is extremely commendable for them. I'm just so very proud because they earned it for sure."

The Lady Indians received a team-best 91 from senior Josie Gonzalez, 98 off the clubs of senior Jillian Fuchs, as well as a 99 from junior Grace Donahue and a 102 carded by sophomore Alijah Campbell. Those four rounds added up to the third-place finish of 390 behind the champion host ACC (378) and second-place Rosary High School of Aurora (383).

Plano (413) finished just out of the sectional mix in fourth place, but saw sophomore's Faith Malloy (96) and Kendal Flodstrom (100) both advance individually. Chicago University junior Emily Chang was the overall individual champion after she shot a sparkling 75.

But it was the steady performance by Gonzalez – who spearheaded the Sandwich regional effort by going out in her first nine with a 44 and coming home on the back with a 47 – that ultimately helped provide the Lady Indians to reach history, a spot in sectional play Monday at Silver Ridge Golf Course in Oregon.

"It obviously took a lot from everyone today to qualify and we all came out with the mind set of just playing our games in order to finish strong as a team," Gonzalez said. "It's so exciting to have qualified for sectionals, especially because Jillian and I are both seniors and for each of us to lead our team today was very, very special. To say we're going to move on as a team is truly amazing and hopefully it won't be our last hurrah and we'll make it to state."

Fuchs went out with 46 and in with 52, while Donahue was one stroke back going out in 46 and in at 53. Campbell struggled a touch by shooting 54 on the front and 48 on the back after carding an 89 to lead the conference champion quartet last week. Juniors Morgan Ross (105) and Hanna Reedy (109) also shot well Sandwich and will be apart of the Lady Indians' sectional lineup.

Two other Times area schools competed in Aurora Thursday. Somonauk finished eighth, shooting 513 and Earlville with only two golfers: sophomore Isabella Harp with a 120 and her freshman sister, Kaydence, with a 104, only two strokes off sectional qualifying.

"I'm kind of disappointed because I know I should have qualified if I could have shaved off a few strokes especially with my putts," Kaydence Harp said. "The greens were very fast and I went out of bounds once so that kind of hurt me today. I was really hoping I could have made it, but just being a freshman, I have a lot more time to improve and get to sectionals and hopefully state in the years to come."

For the Lady Bobcats, senior Madison Vermeland wasn't too far off the sectional scoring pace either carding a 105 in her last meet on the prep level.

"Madison achieved her goal of shooting 108 or better and unfortunately it just fell a few shots short for her," said Somonauk coach Michael Schwerdtfeger. "I'm very proud of what she did today. It was an incredibly tough regional and what she accomplished was very impressive going out as a senior."

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